IFN 11-18 – Amendments to the Imported Food Control Act 1992

27 September 2018

Purpose

The purpose of the notice is to provide further information about the changes to the regulation of imported food as a result of the Imported Food Control Amendment Act 2018 receiving royal assent. See IFN 10-18 - Strengthening the imported food safety system for background information.

What has changed?

The Imported Food Control Amendment Act introduces a number of changes to the Imported Food Control Act 1992. Some of the changes will come into effect from September 2018 (see Table 1 below). The other changes will have a twelve month implementation period with further information and support provided to industry to prepare for these changes (see Table 2 below).

Table 1 – Changes to the imported food industry that will come into effect from September 2018
Change to imported food industry

New or amended section

Holding orders

  • Allow food to be temporarily held at the border where imported food may pose a serious risk to human health
  • All holdings orders (except for those that were a result of label non-compliance) will be published on the department’s website

 

Section 15(3)
Section 15(9)

Mutual recognition

  • Recognise a foreign country’s food safety regulatory system where that system is deemed equivalent to Australia’s food safety regulatory system
  • Reduce the rate of inspection, or inspection and testing of food of a particular kind from that country

 

Section 16(2B)

Section 16(2)(ac)
Section 16(2)(bb)

Disclose information obtained under the Imported Food Control Act to:

  • Commonwealth, State, Territory or local government agencies for regulatory purposes
  • Foreign government officials, where that information relates to imported food that may pose a risk to human health

Section 42A

Varying the inspection or inspection and sampling rates

  • Ability to temporarily vary the inspection or inspection and testing rates of a particular kind of imported food

 

Section 16(2)(aa)
Section 16(2)(ab - ba)

Enforcement

  • Establish differentiated enforcement provisions consistent with domestic food safety legislation and the Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Act 2014

 

Sections 21 – 26, 34A
(Also Parts 2 - 6 of the Regulatory Powers Act)

Table 2 – Changes to the imported food industry that will come into effect from September 2019
Change to imported food industry

New or amended section

Food safety management certificate

  • Certain kinds of imported food will require a food safety management certificate
  • A food requiring a food safety management certificate, which doesn’t have one, is taken as a failing food

Note: Currently there are no imported foods that require a food safety management certificate to be imported into Australia. Further communication on which imported foods will require a food safety management certificate will occur before this is enforceable at the border.


Section 16(2)(a)(iia)

Section 16(2)(f)(fa)

Traceability records

  • Requirement for food importers to keep records and to produce records when required. Records are to demonstrate traceability of food within supply chain

Note: Further communication on the information required within the traceability records will occur over the implementation period.

 

Sections 27 – 32

Further information

Further information about the changes to the imported food safety system is available on the department’s website.

Food Importers are encouraged to subscribe to Imported Food Notices to receive updates on the operational changes to the Imported Food Inspection Scheme to reflect the legislative changes listed above.

Further inquiries can be made by emailing Imported Food Inquiries.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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