Australia - Certification Requirements

This page is part of the Guidance Document Repository (GDR).

Looking for related documents?
Search for related documents in the Guidance Document Repository

Last update: May 02, 2011

Acts and Regulations

Import Control:

Imported Food Inspection Program
Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS)
GPO Box 858
Canberra, ACT 2600

Import of fish products is subject to the Australian Food Standards Code developed by the National Food Authority.

Requirements will be consistent with the 1993 Memorandum of Understanding between Canada and Australia. The text of the memorandum is available from the Government of Canada Web Archive which is maintained by Library and Archives Canada.


Labels must be printed in English and contain information regarding content, weight, additives, manufacture, trademarks and country of origin.

Tolerances or Guidelines

Standard A12: Metals and Contaminants in Food

  • Antimony - 1.5 ppm
  • Arsenic - 1.0 ppm
  • Cadmium
    • Fish and fish content of products containing fish - 0.2 ppm
    • Molluscs and mollusc content of products containing molluscs - 2.0 ppm
  • Copper
    • Molluscs and the mollusc content of products containing molluscs - 70.0 ppm
    • Other fish and fish products - 10.0 ppm
  • Lead
    • Canned fish - 2.5 ppm
    • Other fish and fish products - 1.5 ppm
    • Molluscs - 2.5 ppm
  • Mercury
    • Fish, crustaceans, molluscs and the fish content of products containing fish - 0.5 ppm (mean value)
  • Nitrates - added nitrates not permitted
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls
    • Fish - 0.5 ppm
  • Selenium
    • Fish and fish products - 1.0 ppm
  • Tin
    • All canned fish or fish products - 150.0 ppm
    • All canned fish packed in tomato containing media - 200.0 ppm
    • All other fish or fish products - 50.0 ppm
  • Zinc
    • Oysters - 1000.0 ppm
    • Other fish or fish products - 150.0 ppm

Food Standards Code

  • Ascorbic or Erythorbic Acid or its sodium salts
    • Frozen Fish - 400.0 ppm
  • Benzoic or Sorbic Acid
    • Marinated Fish - 1000.0 ppm
  • Calcined Iron Oxid
    • Fish Paste/Spread - 500.0 ppm
  • Formaldehyde
    • Smoked Fish - 50.0 ppm
  • Phosphates
    • Frozen fish - 1300.0 ppm
    • Canned Abalone - 3000.0 ppm
    • Canned Tuna - 5000.0 ppm
    • Canned fish other than abalone or tuna - 2200.0 ppm
  • Sulphur Dioxide
    • Fresh, Frozen Shrimp - 30.0 ppm
    • Canned Crustacea - 30.0 ppm

Certificate Requirements

Cooked Shrimps/Prawns:

The following statements must be added to the Certificate of Origin and Hygiene CFIA/ACIA 5003 (2002/05):

  1. The prawns have been cooked in premises in the exporting country that are approved by and under the control of the Competent Authority of the exporting country, and;
  2. As a result of the cooking process all the protein in the prawn meat has coagulated and no raw prawn meat remains.

Fish Products:

A Certificate of "Origin and Hygiene" CFIA/ACIA 5003 (2002/05) is required by the Australian authorities under the Memorandum of Understanding signed June 28, 1993 concerning the inspection and certification of fish and fishery products traded between Australia and Canada.

Note: Bivalve molluscan shellfish and raw products derived therefrom are not covered under the Memorandum of Understanding.

Products may be exported accompanied by Canadian certification; however, mandatory inspection may still be conducted in Australia.

Uncanned Salmon, Trout, Salmon Roe:
All commercial shipments of uncanned salmon, trout and salmon roe (caviar) must be accompanied by:

1) An original Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) declaration letter, stating:

"To Whom It May Concern:

Copies of the process description submitted by of , has been reviewed by, and is on file with, the Department. An Inspection Officer of the Department has examined the process on and verified that it was carried out as stated in the manufacturer's original declaration."


A Certificate of "Origin and Hygiene" CFIA/ACIA 5003 (2002/05) containing the above verification statement.

2) A valid copy of the Australian "Permit to Import".

All uncanned smoked salmon and trout require a quarantine permit, ("Permit to Import") for which the processor must provide details of the temperature at which the salmon or trout is smoked and the length of time for which this temperature is maintained.

3) An original declaration by the manufacturer stating "the salmon/trout has been heated from a thawed state to at least °C for at least hrs/minutes". Times and temperatures must be in ink.

Airport packs/consumer packs (i.e. for personal consumption) must have a label affixed to the product giving the name and address of the processor and stating "This product has been heat-treated as per the Australian Quarantine Requirements". A CFIA inspector must verify the heat treatment every 6 months.

Additional Information on the Export of Fresh and Frozen Salmonids to Australia

The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) issued the attached Animal Quarantine Policy Memorandum (AQPM) 2000/26 - PDF (161 kb), which came into effect on June 1, 2000. This document outlines quarantine policies for fresh and frozen salmonids, and replaces those previously issued for these types of products in AQPM 1999/51 of July 19, 1999 and AQPM 1999/69, of October 20, 1999.

To summarize these requirements:

(1) an exporting country must first be approved by AQIS. The Canadian system is approved;

(2) The importer in Australia must obtain an import permit from AQIS and will be granted permission to import based on the conditions specified on the permit. Different conditions for the importer may be specified on the permit based on whether the product is for retail sale or direct retail sale or commercial processing.

  • Product is considered to be for direct retail sale or retail sale when each piece is in an individual sleeve in a carton of any size or many pieces are in a plastic bag in a carton of 60 lb/27.3 kg or less. (Note - there is no limit on the number of cartons)
  • Product is considered to be for commercial processing when bulk-packed (i.e. not in individual sleeves) in containers greater than 60 lb or 27.3 kg.
  • There is a new check-box on the certificate, in order that importers and authorities in Australia may determine into which category (direct retail sale, retail sale or commercial processing) the product falls.
  • Please note that at a minimum - product must be in a Head Off, Gill-Out, and Eviscerated Form.

(3) Canadian processors must meet the following requirements (in addition to the Fish Inspection Regulations) in order that product may be certified by a CFIA inspector:

  • the product must be in, at least, a head off, gill out and gutted form;
  • fish must be thoroughly washed (internally and externally), inspected and graded under the plant's QMP. The product must be free from visible lesions associated with infectious disease and fit for human consumption;
  • fish must not be juvenile salmonids or sexually mature adults/spawners;
  • fish were not derived from a population slaughtered as an official disease control measure
  • the product was harvested from an area where a fish health surveillance program is administered by either DFO or the province (DFO has advised that this applies to all areas of Canada)
  • for Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout, the fish did not come from a farm infected by or officially suspected of being infected by the infectious salmon anaemia virus (ISAV) or waters within 10 km or one tidal interchange of an infected farm.***

***Please note that Canadian authorities are continuing to work with Australia on this ISAV provision, with the objective to seeing it removed, based on Canada's fish health management program. That is why the latest certificate, dated 26 July 2000 continues to have a title of "INTERIM" Health Certificate. AQIS has agreed that it will be removed when the issue of ISAV certification is resolved.

Regional CFIA offices have a copy of the certificate, titled CFIA/ACIA 5207 in the bottom left corner of the document. Interested exporters should contact their local CFIA office to arrange for certification, as per normal procedures.

Exporters are also invited to contact their local office should they have any questions or concerns with these procedures, or if they experience any unusual difficulties related to this procedure. Local offices may direct these enquires to Headquarters for consideration by the inter-departmental working group.

Date modified: