High compliance rates for imported foods

Results of tests applied to food imported to Australia show a consistently high rate of compliance with Australia’s strict food standards.  The Department of Agriculture’s First Assistant Secretary of Border Compliance, Colin Hunter, said the report demonstrates that the rigorous testing that Australia undertakes on imported foods works.

“We have a thorough process, which checks that food products imported to Australia meet our strict import conditions, are correctly labelled and are safe for consumers,” Mr Hunter said.

“We work with Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) as well as state and territory authorities to ensure imported food meets our domestic standards and is safe for us to eat.

“We focus our efforts on the food products which pose the greatest human health risk by analysing what it is, where it comes from and who is importing it. We then apply the tests recommended by FSANZ to these risk foods.”

The latest report shows food labelling accounted for most instances of non-compliance with Australia’s imported food requirements.

“Between 1 January and 30 June 2013, over 45,000 tests were applied to imported food including label assessments, analytical, chemical and other tests,” Mr Hunter said.

“And when you remove food labelling from the equation, the overall compliance rate was 99.2%.

“This report, released twice a year, details the types of food tested, how frequently they’re tested, the level of compliance and the country of origin.”

During the reporting period, seafood was subject to the most testing, accounting for 16.7% of tests applied; this includes fresh, chilled, frozen and processed seafood products.

Horticulture, including fresh and processed fruit and vegetables, was the next highest single commodity inspected.

The Department of Agriculture is responsible for managing Australia’s biosecurity system and is one of the Australian Government agencies responsible for regulating imported food.  Ω

13 February 2013