US and Australia recognise food safety systems as comparable

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Picture: iStock/Ruskpp
Picture: iStock/Ruskpp

Related tags: Food safety, Milk, Pasteurization

Australia and the US have signed a bilateral food safety recognition agreement after five years of work.

Greg Read, department of Agriculture and Water Resources head of exports, said the agreement was the third the US had with a trading partner and recognises each other’s food safety and regulatory systems as comparable.

The first US agreement was with New Zealand in 2012 and then Canada in 2016. It is voluntary and not required for a country to export foods to the US.

The agreement will reduce duplication, contradictory responses and oversight delays in regulatory practices.

Read said it would simplify Australian exports to the US and encourage trade which will be good news for farmers.

“This agreement…will result in fewer in-country audits - with compliance being managed by the exporting country,” ​he said.

“This is good for our businesses, as it positions Australia as a safe source of food supply for the US market that will place our exporters in a position of benefit compared with other exporting countries that don’t have this agreement.

“Just as Australia does, the US continues to regulate foods such as meat, egg products, shellfish and dietary supplements and more stringent requirements continue to apply.”

Most canned foods, seafood, fresh fruit and vegetables, fruit juices, confectionery and baked goods are included in the agreement.

Milk and milk products regulated in the US under the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance are not included but it does cover cheese and other non-Grade “A” dairy products.

Systems recognition establishes regulatory cooperation in areas that range from scientific collaboration to outbreak response.

It also helps prioritize potential risks when planning inspection activities, including foreign facility inspections, import field exams and import sampling. 

Imports from Australia must continue to comply with US requirements to ensure safety and proper labeling, including standards under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.

Related topics: Policy, Oceania, Food safety

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