04-2021: Changes to the importation of retorted goods containing animal material for human consumption

13 January 2021

Who does this notice affect?

This notice is of particular interest to importers of retorted, shelf stable, commercially sterile products containing animal-based ingredients.

What has changed?

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (department) is making changes to the standard import permit for retorted, shelf stable, commercially sterile food products containing animal ingredients for human consumption.

The changes will mean that the following commodities will no longer be permitted entry using the standard permit:

  • Birds Nests.
  • Table eggs.
  • Goods that are imported in temperature-controlled containers below 10°C.

These goods can still be imported, but only after a more rigorous assessment of the product has been undertaken and a non-standard permit specific to the product has been issued.

Existing standard permits will not be varied to the new conditions but will remain valid until they expire. Standard permits that are issued between the date of this industry advice notice and the implementation of these changes will be set to expire two years from the date of this industry advice notice.

The changes are required to address compliance issues with these products. During 2019/20 the department conducted verification activities on the retort pathway.

This verification work uncovered goods that were not compliant with the import conditions. This included a range of products that were not properly retorted and shelf stable.

Retort conditions allow safe trade in products from countries that are affected by animal diseases that are exotic to Australia (e.g. highly pathogenic avian influenza, Newcastle disease and foot-and-mouth disease). The introduction of these diseases would have serious consequences for the Australian economy and environment. For this reason, it is important that these products are properly retorted in accordance with the import conditions.

When are the changes being implemented?

It is anticipated that permits with the new conditions will be issued from March 2021.

Further information

If you require any further information, or have questions about these changes, please contact the Commodity Assurance and Seafood Imports Program on 1800 900 090 or email imports@agriculture.gov.au

Last reviewed: 13 January 2021
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