36-2021: The changes to the importation of retorted goods containing animal material for human consumption have now been implemented

15 March 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?

This notice follows on from Industry Advice Notice 04-2021 published on January 13, 2021 and is to notify industry that the changes outlined in that notice have now been implemented.

From 15 March 2021 the following commodities are no longer able to be imported using the standard permit for retorted goods:

  • Birds Nests
  • Goods containing discernible pieces of egg
  • 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. A non-standard permit can be applied for via the BICON case for retorted goods.

Existing standard permits will not be varied to the new conditions and will remain valid until they expire.

Importers should be aware that the original Industry Advice Notice dated January 13, 2021 indicated that the standard permits would not be able to be used for table eggs. As a result of feedback, we have changed this to products containing discernible pieces of egg.

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?

These changes have now been implemented.

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: 15 March 2021
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