Food importers can enter into a Food Import Compliance Agreement (FICA) with us. These agreements are made under section 35A of the Imported Food Control Act 1992.
Many food importers have documented food safety management systems for sourcing and importing safe food. Under a FICA, we recognise these systems as an alternative to the inspection and testing of food imports under the Imported Food Inspection Scheme.
Entering into a FICA allows you to:
- manage the clearance of your own food imports
- reduce your importing timeframes and costs.
You won’t have to book or pay for an imported food inspection under a FICA. Instead, we monitor your compliance with requirements by regularly auditing your system. You can choose to have all the food you import under a FICA or just certain types of food.
All goods imported into Australia must meet biosecurity requirements. This includes food imported under a FICA. Check the Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON).
You must have a documented food safety compliance system to manage your food imports. We won’t consider entering into an agreement without one.
Your compliance system must clearly identify the measures you have in place to ensure imported food is safe and compliant, and the people responsible for this. It should be based on:
- International Standard ISO 22000:2018 Food safety management systems - requirements for any organization in the food chain
- Codex Alimentarius Commission General Principles of Food Hygiene (CXC 1-1969)
Food safety compliance system
You will need to prepare your compliance system documentation and provide it with your FICA application.
What to include
Use the self-assessment checklist in the FICA application form. This ensures your system will cover all requirements. You need to show us that you have a documented compliance system in place that:
- provides adequate and effective measures to ensure the food you import is safe and compliant
- ensures responsibilities are allocated to personnel that have appropriate authority, skills and knowledge in food safety.
Your documented system should be clear and concise. Make sure you have an index of all documents included and that they are uniquely identified.
When your application is received, we will conduct:
- an assessment of your compliance system documentation
- a suitability review to determine if you are trustworthy, able to comply with our requirements and capable of following agreed procedures
- an assessment to check your history of compliance with the Imported Food Inspection Scheme and with other department areas, such as approved arrangements and export registration
- a financial review to ensure there is no outstanding debt to the Commonwealth.
We then conduct a pre-approval audit of your compliance system at your head office and nominated primary warehouse. We do this to verify that your documented system:
- can be effectively implemented
- satisfactorily addresses the requirements for a FICA.
Find out more about how we conduct audits.
How to apply
Complete the FICA application form. Refer to our requirements for guidance on preparing your documentation and what to include.
|Application to enter into a food import compliance agreement PDF||429 KB|
When you apply for a FICA you will have to pay for:
- an application levy (only if you do not have an existing approved arrangement with the department).
- an assessment for us to determine if you are suitable to enter into a FICA.
An annual fee is payable once a FICA comes into effect. To find out more see our charging guidelines.
Entering into a FICA
If you’re successful, you can enter into a compliance agreement with us. It starts when both parties sign the agreement and you pay the annual fee.
Download sample agreement
|Food Import Compliance Agreement PDF||332 KB|
|Food Import Compliance Agreement DOCX||285 KB|
We audit FICA holders to ensure you continue to comply with your agreement. How often we audit you depends on your compliance.
Find out more about how we conduct audits.
Notifying us of changes
Use the FICA notification form to tell us if you:
- detect non-compliant food or initiate a food recall
- change your authorised personnel or senior management
- change your compliance system
- change your FICA warehouse register
- change your direct delivery arrangements
- become insolvent.
Download notification form
Complete and click on the Submit button in the form to email it to us.
To save a copy for your records or to complete later, click on the Save button in the form.
|Food import compliance agreement notification PDF||407 KB|
Listed are some of the importers who are operating under a FICA.
- Aldi Stores
- Antico International
- Arla Foods Mayer
- Bacardi-Martini Australia
- Brown Forman Australia
- Calendar Cheese Company
- Conga Foods
- Fresh Produce Group
- FTA Food Solutions
- Langdon Ingredients
- Manassen Foods Australia
- Mondelez Australia
- Natural Ingredients
- Packing Station
- Peanut Company of Australia
- Riviana Foods
- Savour and Grace
- Scalzo Foods
- Simplot Australia
- Vitor Marketing