Remaking the Imported Food Control Regulations

Under section 50 of the Legislation Act 2003, all Australian Government regulations ‘sunset’. This means they automatically cease to be law on a certain date unless a review finds the regulations are still required.

Following a review, the department determined the imported food regulations are still required to support the objectives of the Imported Food Control Act 1992. The Imported Food Control Regulations 2019 were made by the Minister for Agriculture on 1 October 2019. Consequently, the Imported Food Control Regulations 1993 are no longer inforce.

Purpose of the Regulations

The Imported Food Control Regulations 2019:

  • establish and set out the operation of the Imported Food Inspection Scheme (Scheme)
  • enable the Minister for Agriculture to classify imported foods to determine the inspection rates of foods under the Scheme
  • set out provisions for
    • application of food control certificates
    • defining when a food is a failing food
    • chargeable service fees for assessing imported food at the border.

Changes to the Regulations

The changes to the Imported Food Control Regulations include changes due to the sunsetting review of the 1993 Regulations and changes required as a result of the Imported Food Control Amendment Act 2018. The following changes were introduced to the 2019 Regulations:

  • Permit the use of recognised quality assurance certificates for the importation of risk-classified foods that are identified in the Imported Food Control Order 2001. This is an alternative to mandatory foreign government certification requirements for those foods.
  • For the purposes of section 7 of the Imported Food Control Act, amended the:
    • weights and volumes of food for private consumption to 1kg in weight or 1L in volume.
    • allowance of prohibited plants and fungi for private consumption to 0kg.
  • Amend the inspection rate applied when food inspected at the reduced rate of 5% is identified as a failing food, the inspection rate returns to the tightened rate of 100%.
  • Formalise the power of authorised officers to request information about a food so that the food can be correctly inspected or inspected and analysed under the Scheme.
  • Permit the Minister to make orders:
    • requiring importers to provide a food safety management certificate, showing that producers have certified food safety controls in place to manage safety hazards for imported foods identified in the Imported Food Control Order 2019.
    • reducing the inspection rate for food imported from a country that has a food safety regulatory system recognised as equivalent to Australia’s food safety system.
  • Permit the department to establish variable rates of inspection for up to six months where: there may be an emerging risk to human health associated with an imported food; and that risk needs to be further investigated.

Sunsett Review of the Imported Food Control Regulations 1993

In 2017, the department established a panel to:

  • review the 1993 Regulations
  • oversee the public consultation process
  • report the results of this work to the Minister.

The panel included representatives of Food Standards Australia New Zealand and the department.

Download the final report

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, 2017

Document Pages File type File size
Final report of the review of the Imported Food Control Regulations 16 PDF 324 KB
Final report of the review of the Imported Food Control Regulations 16 Word 672 KB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit web accessibility for assistance.

Download the consultation document

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, 2017

Document Pages File type File size
Proposals for changes to imported food regulations 22 PDF 967 KB
Proposals for changes to imported food regulations 22 Word 680 KB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit web accessibility for assistance.

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Last reviewed: 21 November 2019
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