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Australia Updates Import Requirements on Dairy and Aquatic Products

The previous provision that allowed invoice to be used as the evidence to prove the goods contain less than 10% dairy (by dry weight) has been removed. From November 9, 2023, consignments of bivalve molluscs and bivalve mollusc products must be accompanied by a recognised foreign government certificate on arrival.

In November 2023, Australia implemented the updated import requirements for dairy and aquatic products. These changes affect two categories of products: goods containing less than 10% dairy, as well as bivalve molluscs and bivalve mollusc products.

Dairy products

In November 8, 2023, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) made modifications to the evidence requirements for the import conditions concerning goods containing less than 10% dairy. The changes have taken effect from November 9, 2023.

Key updates

The previous condition that allowed invoice to serve as the evidence of the dairy content of products less than 10% dairy by dry weight has been removed. Instead, this information shall be provided by the manufacturer of the goods in a manufacturer declaration or on a food product label.

Current import conditions for goods containing less than 10% dairy

Before arrival in Australia, there is no requirement of a DAFF import permit for goods containing less than 10% dairy. However, in order to demonstrate compliance with biosecurity conditions, it is necessary for the goods to have evidence in the form of a manufacturer's declaration or food product label, which confirms that the dairy content is less than 10% by dry weight (excluding added water). In cases where the required documentation is unavailable or insufficient, the goods shall undergo an inspection to ensure compliance with the import conditions.

Aquatic products

In November 9, 2023, DAFF in Australia issued a food notice on the mandatory certification for bivalve molluscs and bivalve mollusc products. Starting from November 9, 2023, consignments of bivalve molluscs and bivalve mollusc products must be accompanied by a recognised foreign government certificate on arrival.

Products covered

Products that require foreign government certification include clams, cockles, mussels, oysters, pipis and scallops. However, certain products are exempt from the foreign government certification requirements, such as retorted and shelf-stable products, including condiments and sauces, as well as dried products, including chilled soup mixes containing dried bivalve molluscs.

List of countries

Currently, bivalve molluscs and bivalve molluscs products can only be imported from 18 countries/regions, including Argentina, Canada, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Republic of Ireland, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Spain, Taiwan (China), Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam. It is worth noting that the requirement on foreign government certificate does not apply to bivalve molluscs and bivalve mollusc products imported from New Zealand.


Bivalve molluscs and bivalve mollusc products are classified as risk foods in Australia.  Under the Imported Food Control Order 2019, currently there are 25 kinds of food classified as risk foods, such as beef, raw milk cheese, frozen berries and dried pepper. Risk foods are subject to inspection and analysis. Moreover, some even require mandatory foreign government certification.

Currently, mandatory foreign government certification is necessary for the import of beef and beef products, bivalve molluscs and bivalve mollusc products, human milk and human milk products, raw beef and beef products and raw milk cheese. Overseas companies wanting to export these foods should contact the authority in the exporting country. Only the competent authority can apply for certification arrangement.

Regarding oyster imports, Australia imposes restrictions. Oysters sourced from the following areas are not permitted for import, including the Republic of Korea, the northern and western marine areas of Hiroshima Bay in Japan, and the marine area of Kure Bay in Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan. However, this restriction excludes retorted and shelf-stable oysters. Additionally, consignments of oysters from Japan must have their source verified in writing by a recognised competent authority.

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