IFN 18-19 – Record keeping requirements for traceability

Issued: 4 October 2019


The purpose of this notice is to advise importers about the new record-keeping requirements for traceability under the Imported Food Control Act 1992 that came into force on 1 October 2019.

Traceability is the ability to track any food through all stages of the food chain (from production to distribution). The records you keep should allow food that is imported to be traced one step forward and one step back.

What records must be kept

Food importers, or the owner of the food at the time of importation, must keep the following information in relation to the food being imported:

  • a name or description of the food sufficient to indicate its true nature
  • batch or lot identification for the food
  • name of the person, business name, street address and telephone number or email address of the producer of the food
  • name of the person, business name, street address and telephone number or email address of customers that have received the food
  • the date the food was received and the date when it was dispatched to customers
  • the volume or quantity of the food involved in each transaction.

Records may be kept in a manual or electronic system but must be kept for five years.

The legislative instrument that details which records must be retained, the Imported Food Control (Recordkeeping) Determination 2019, is published on the Federal Register of Legislation.


Occasionally something goes wrong in the food supply chain that leads to a possible or confirmed risk to human health associated with a food. When these incidents occur it is important that action is taken quickly to minimise any public health risk. Having records that support effective food traceability helps locate and prevent contaminated products reaching consumers.

The Imported Food Control Act 1992 now includes record-keeping requirements in Part 3A. This is to ensure that the owner of the imported food can, if requested, provide information about a food quickly. This enables the imported food to be tracked within the food supply chain when a food safety risk has been identified with the food.

If traceability records are required for a food incident associated with an imported food, the department will contact you and request this information.

You may be liable to an offence should you fail to keep and retain records and be unable to produce records if requested by the department.

Subscribe for updates

To receive updates when changes are made to the requirements for imported food, use the following link to subscribe to the Imported Food Inspection Scheme.

Last reviewed: 7 November 2019
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