All consignments of beef and beef products for human consumption imported into Australia must comply with the biosecurity and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) food safety requirements. This webpage outlines only the BSE food safety requirements for these products.
Australia’s biosecurity requirements for beef and beef products can be obtained from the Biosecurity import conditions system (BICON).
Under the Imported Food Control Act 1992, beef and beef products for human consumption are considered a risk food for the likely presence of BSE agent. The beef can only be sourced from countries that have had their BSE food safety risk assessed and a satisfactory BSE risk status assigned by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and BSE certificates negotiated and agreed between the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and competent authorities of the exporting country.
The food safety risks associated with BSE in imported beef and beef products are managed under the Imported Food Inspection Scheme at the border.
For more information about the BSE food safety risk assessment process, refer to the FSANZ BSE information webpage.
Definition of beef and beef products requiring food safety certification
Beef means the flesh, bone, offal or any other tissue of an animal in the subfamily bovinae.
Beef products means food prepared from or containing beef, but does not include gelatine, collagen, rendered fats, tallow or di-calcium phosphate.
Gelatine and collagen derived from bovine animals
Under the Imported Food Inspection Scheme, gelatine and collagen (including sausage casings produced from this type of collagen) are not targeted as risk food and certification is not required.
However, Food Standards Code Standard 2.2.1 - Division 4 - Meat and Meat Products, requires that, for food containing beef gelatine and/or collagen (including sausage casings produced from this type of collagen), the gelatine and /or collagen is derived from bovines free from BSE. These products must be sourced from countries that have had their BSE food safety risk assessed and a satisfactory BSE risk status assigned by FSANZ. This requirement does not apply to gelatine and collagen derived from bovine skins and hides. The department may request a manufacturer’s declaration to confirm the source of the gelatine or collagen.
BSE certificates and information required under the Imported Food Inspection Scheme
Requirements for import declarations and documentation for entries of imported food can be found on the webpage Lodging declarations and documentations for imported food webpage.
All consignments of beef or beef products imported into Australia must be accompanied by a compliant BSE certificate. Where a consignment is referred to the Imported Food Inspection Scheme, the importer must provide a BSE certificate compliant with:
- Minimum Documentary Requirements Policy for government certification
- the country specific mandatory declarations.
BSE certification requirements for countries approved for trade in beef and beef products for human consumption
Only beef originating in the countries identified on the Foreign government certification arrangements under the Imported Food Control Act 1992 webpage is permitted into Australia in accordance with import permit requirements and the BSE certification requirements stated.