Importing fresh produce for commercial purposes

​​​Fresh produce is unprocessed or partially processed fresh fruit and vegetables. Partial processing may include slicing or removing peel.

Imported fresh produce can introduce exotic plant pests and diseases that could be harmful to Australia’s environment, agriculture and economy. To safeguard Australia, we set conditions for the import of all fresh produce to Australia. Note, the importation of fresh produce for personal use is not permitted.

On 1 May 2020, our inspection arrangements for fresh produce from New Zealand and the United States are changing. Read our industry advice notice on the closure of offshore pre-inspections for more information.

Import conditions

We assess documentation and inspect the fresh produce on arrival in Australia to verify compliance with the import conditions. We prioritise fresh produce for inspection wherever possible.

To find out whether a fresh produce commodity from a specific country is permitted and the import conditions that apply, search the Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON)

BICON will also tell you:

  • whether an import permit is required
  • any mandatory phytosanitary measures, such as fumigation and irradiation
  • phytosanitary declaration requirements
  • packaging and labelling requirements.

To ensure you meet our import requirements, you are also encouraged to:

  • work with offshore suppliers to ensure that they can meet the import conditions
  • book an inspection ahead of the scheduled arrival of your goods
  • ensure that the necessary approved arrangements for holding, inspection and treatment of the goods are in place.

Failure to meet the conditions may result in the fresh produce not being permitted entry into Australia.

Failure to produce the required documentation will result in your consignment being held by us until the correct documentation is supplied.

If the import conditions are not in BICON

If import conditions are not listed in BICON for the pathway, you cannot import the fresh produce until:

  • a formal market access request is made by the appropriate government authority or National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) of the exporting country (this process can take several years)
  • an import risk analysis has been completed by the department
  • import conditions have been developed and published on BICON.

Rewarding consistent compliance

Importers that consistently demonstrate compliance with Australia’s import conditions may be eligible for risk-based intervention programs like the Compliance-based Intervention Scheme (CBIS).

CBIS rewards importers who demonstrate consistent compliance with Australia’s biosecurity requirements with risk-based inspection rates. Compliant importers benefit from the CBIS through smoother clearance of goods at the border and reduced regulatory costs.

Fees and charges

Importers are responsible for meeting all import conditions and covering all fees and charges for services provided by the department and other parties. This includes the costs of import permits, documentation assessments, inspections, treatments, and diagnostic tests.

The following fees and charges apply:

  • Import permit, inspection and Post Entry Quarantine at the commonwealth government facility, check the department’s charging guidelines.
  • Phytosanitary certification, contact your supplier or the NPPO of the country of export.
  • Fumigation, contact your fumigation provider

Costs associated with diagnostic testing may vary according to the type of test.

Meeting Australia’s food laws

Imported food for human consumption must comply with the requirements of the Imported Food Control Act 1992, as well as Australian state and territory food laws. Among other things, these laws require all food, including imported food, to meet the standards set out in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code).

The Australian Government Department of Agriculture administers the Imported Food Control Act 1992. This legislation provides for the inspection and control of imported food using a risk-based border inspection program, the Imported Food Inspection Scheme.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is responsible for developing and maintaining the Code, including Standard 1.4.2 - Agvet chemicals. This standard is available on the Federal Register of Legislation or through the FSANZ website.

Last reviewed: 13 December 2019
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