Brown algae seaweed

​​​​​​​Brown algae/seaweed vegetables

Back to Tests applied to risk food

Reference BSW 12/2016

All imported brown a​lgae/seaweed vegetables for human consumption must comply with Australia’s biosecurity import conditions.

Check the Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON) to determine if the food you intend to import requires an import permit or a treatment or if it must meet any other conditions. All biosecurity requirements must be met before Imported Food Inspection Scheme requirements apply.

Imported Food Inspection Scheme risk food

Species (or genus) of brown algae/seaweed vegetables belonging to the scientific class Phyophyceae or Phaeophyceae, that is dried, fresh or frozen for human consumption is classified as risk food.

The following Community Protection (CP) question is applied to goods lodged in the ICS under tariff code 1212.21: Seaweeds and other algae: Fit for human consumption:

IFIS: Are the goods seaweed of the Phyophyceae or Phaeophyceae class (Brown Seaweed)?
Search 'Brown Seaweed' at for more information.

The department anticipates that importers/brokers will know the species or genus of the seaweed as the scientific names of seaweed are required (as per BICON) as a condition of import. To answer the lodgement question the importer/broker will need to confirm whether the species is a member of the scientific class Phyophyceae or Phaeophyceae. See Table 2 on this web page.

Food excluded from this testing  

  • all other algae or seaweed
  • food containing brown algae/seaweed vegetables as an ingredient; for example, soup and salad.

Risk food sampling

When goods are referred for inspection and testing, an authorised officer:

  • will take samples for each product type
  • will take five sample units per lot for analysis.

For more detail on sampling refer to Imported Food Notice 03-11 F​ood sampling under the Imported Food Inspection Scheme.

Hazard testing

Table 1 shows risk food tests applied to imported brown algae/ seaweed vegetables and permitted results.

Table 1 Hazard, test applied and permitted result

Test applied

Permitted result



Maximum level 1000 mg/kg dry weight

Label and composition assessment

Food Standards Code chapters 1 and 2

Visual assessment

Imported Food Control Act 1992 section 3(2)(a)(vii) and 3(2)(b)

Table 2 Seaweed members of the scientific class Phyophyceae or Phaeophyceae

Scientific name

Examples of common names used for different kinds of brown algae & uses‡

Laminaria spp
(eg.Laminaria japonica)

Aokombu, Atlantic kombu, common kelp, Cow’s tail, cuvie, cuvy, fingered tangle, Haidai Dashima, Horsetail tangle, horsetail kelp, kelp, Kombu, kombu Breton, Konbu, may weed, oarweed, oarweed kelp, Saccharina japonica (previously recognised name), sea club, sea girdle/s, sea-girdles, sea rod/s, sea tangle, sea wand, slack marrow, Suboshi kombu, tangle, Wild kelp, southern stiff-stiped kelp, split blade kelp, split-fan kelp, split kelp, stiff-stiped kelp, red ware, red wrack, redware, Hai-tai.
Uses: Dashi, salads, fried, soups, sauces, added to rice, beverages , sashimi, Kombucha (seaweed tea)

Undaria spp

apron-ribbon vegetable, Asian kelp, Japanese kelp, sea mustard, wakame, precious sea grass, fougère des mers, kada-me, , mekabu, niki-me, wakame, haiboshi wakame, haijiecai, Quandai-cai, miyeok.
Uses: Miso soup, salads

Sargassum spp
(eg. Sargassum fusiforme)

Binder's Sargassum Weed, common kelp, cattle sargassum weed, gulf weed, gulfweed, holly limu, Japanese sargasso weed, Japanese weed, Japanese wireweed, japweed, sargassum algae, sargassum grass, strangleweed, tuna weed, turtle limu, wireweed, Sargasse, Sargasso, Hijiki, hiziki, Hoshi hiziki, Deer tail grass, Sheep nest grass, Hizikia fusiformis, hondawara, tama-hahaki-moku, , hai ti tun, hoi tsou.
Uses: Vegetable, Soup, stir fries

Cladosiphon okamuranus

Uses: Salads, supplements

Alaria spp.
(eg. Alaria esculenta)

Atlantic wakame, badderlocks, bladder locks, bladderlochs, bladderlock/s, dabberlocks, daberlocks, drilly kelp, edible focus, edible kelp, henware, honey ware, honeyware, horsetail kelp, Irish wakame, keys, murlins, oarweed, Pacific coast wakame, Pacific wakame, ribbon kelp, short stipe alaria, stringy kelp, tangle, wakame, wild Atlantic wakame, wing kelp, winged kelp, American wakame
Uses: Salads, vegetable

Eisenia spp.
(e.g. Eisenia bicyclis)

Kelp, sea oak, southern sea pal, Arame, Kajimi, Sagarame
Uses: Vegetable, Garnish, Salads, pickles

Ecklonia spp.
(eg. Ecklonia maxima)

common kelp, leather kelp, paddle weed, sea bamboo, Kajime, kamtae

Fucus spp.
(e.g. Fucus vesiculosus)

Arctic wrack, black tang, black tany, black wrack, blackweed, bladder fucus, bladder wrack, bladderwrack, bubble kelp, dyer's fucus, dyers fucus, flat wrack, fucus, fucus tips, horned wrack, jelly bags, kelp, kelp-ware, lady wrack, paddy tang, popping wrack, popweed, red fucus, rock weed, rock wrack, rockweed, rockwrack, saw wrack, sea oak, sea ware, sea wrack, sea-ware, serrated wrack, spiral wrack, spiraling rockweed, spiralled wrack, swine tang, toothed wrack, varech, Wrack, Cut weed.
Uses: Additives , Flavourings, food supplements

Durvillaea spp.
(e.g. Durvillaea Antarctica)

Antarctica algae, bull kelp, Cape kelp, Cape, Thonged, Cochayuyo, Huilte, Ulte, coyofe,Cochajugo, Chamisso, Hulpe, rimurapa, rimuroa, southern bull-kelp
Uses: Stews, salads

Ascophyllum spp.
(e.g. Ascophyllum nodosum)

Asco, egg wrack, Grisetang, knobbed wrack, knotted kelp, knotted wrack, lichen belt, Norwegian kelp, pigweed, rock weed, rockweed, sea whistle, wrack, yellow tang
Uses: Alginate, seaweed meal

Postelsia spp. (e.g.
Postelsia palmaeformis)

sea palm, sea palm kelp, Palm seaweed
Uses: Chinese dishes

‡ This list is not exhaustive and other common names exist. Information taken from: (Teas et al. 2004; FSANZ 2011e; Fraser 2012; Guiry and Guiry 2015).

Version history


Amendment details


BSW 05/2014

Replaces Imported Food Notice 09/12 Tests applied to risk category foods

21/10/2016BSW 10/2016Added guidance for importers/brokers when answering CP lodgement question applied to imports of seaweed.
15/12/2016 BSW 12/2016Include table of kinds of brown seaweed that are members of the scientific class Phyophyceae or Phaeophyceae.
​ ​
Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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