The Australian Shellfish Quality Assurance Program (ASQAP) is a government-industry co-operative program designed to assure the food safety of shellfish managed in accordance with its operational guidelines. The Australian Shellfish Quality Assurance Program Export Standards comprise the ASQAP-based procedures and administrative practices necessary to meet legislative requirements prescribed by Orders under the Export Control Act 1982, and to satisfy the food safety expectations of importing countries. These Export Standards, therefore, encapsulate core criteria for determining the export-eligibility of shellfish intended for overseas markets.
The implementation of pre-harvest and some post-harvest Export Standards are principally a responsibility of appropriate state and territory government agencies. By contrast, post-harvest Export Standards, such as those relating to depuration, storage, handling and labelling, are largely the responsibility of shellfish producers. Consequently, the Export Standards form the basis upon which both the administration of state- and territory-managed shellfish programs and the implementation of producer-based operational procedures are audited.
In addition to being produced in accordance with these Export Standards, shellfish that are intended for overseas markets must comply with all other relevant requirements of the Export Control Act 1982 and its subordinate legislation. Where specific importing country requirements apply, these must also be met as a condition of market access and in order to achieve export certification, if applicable. In these circumstances, i.e. where importing country requirements are different or supernumerary to these Export Standards, the department will endeavour to convey, to relevant parties, details of the status and terms of entry involved.
The Australian Shellfish Quality Assurance Program Export Standards embody minimum effective regulation but do not limit an agency's or individual producer's capacity to establish additional procedures or controls if considered necessary to ensure shellfish safety.
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