2020-41 – Grain and Seed Exports Program and Horticulture Exports Program

This content was produced by the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment, on the 23rd June 2020. You can read the full article here: 2020-41 – Grain and Seed Exports Program and Horticulture Exports Program

$13 Million package to boost regional exports

Purpose

This Industry Advice Notice (IAN) provides information to assist Australian exporters of food and edible agricultural products to respond to requests from China for guarantees their exports are safe and free from COVID-19.

Summary of changes and key points

  • The department has received advice from exporters that the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC) are seeking declarations, in the form of a Letter of Guarantee, that imported food and edible agricultural products comply with China’s laws, regulations and standards including the World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) advice on ‘COVID-19 and food safety: guidance for food businesses’.
  • The Letter of Guarantee requires export establishments to take all necessary measures to eliminate food safety risks and protect consumer health and safety if cases or suspected cases of COVID-19 are detected at the establishment.
  • This request is not specific to Australia.
  • The department is responding promptly to GACC, consistent with previous assurances, noting the advice of the WHO, that transmission through food is highly unlikely and there is no evidence of this occurring with COVID-19 globally to date.
  • The Australian Government has advised GACC that:
    • The controls of Australia’s robust food export system ensures food exported from Australia remains safe during the COVID-19 pandemic
    • Given Australian food standards and practices are already in alignment with the WHO, the department considers that Australian Government certification provides the necessary assurances of food safety including during the COVID-19 pandemic.  This assurance from the competent authority covers facilities that are exporting to the People’s Republic of China.
    • On this basis, the department considers that individual facility declarations are not required.
  • Where exporters make a commercial decision to provide a statement to facilitate clearance in China, they should draw on the information provided in this IAN to inform the content of their statement.
  • The department understands that the situation is subject to change, and therefore urges exporters to work closely with their importers prior to dispatching consignments.
  • Further updates will be provided as these become available.

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