Australia-US food safety agreement to benefit exporters

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The signing of a bilateral Food Safety Recognition Agreement between Australia and the US this month puts Australian exporters in a strong position as preferred suppliers, according to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

According to the Department’s head of exports, Greg Read, said the agreement was the third the USA had undertaken with a trading partner and provided for the USA and Australia to recognise one another’s food safety and regulatory systems as comparable.

“The upshot is that this will greatly simplify Australian exports to the USA through greater reliance on our national food control systems that ensure the production of safe food,” he said.

“This agreement, signed by the USA’s Food and Drug Administration and the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, will result in fewer in-country audits—with compliance being managed by the exporting country.

Read added that this will place Australian food exporters in a position of benefit compared to those from other countries with no such agreements.

“These preferential processes will encourage trade between our two nations that can only be good news for our farmers and growing their profits,” he said.

“Not all foods are included in this agreement, but most canned foods, seafood, dairy products, fresh fruit and vegetables, fruit juices, confectionary, baked goods and pet food are in scope.

Read pointed out that the US and Australian regulations of foods such as meat, egg products, shellfish and dietary supplements are similar.

“This work has taken five years to finalise and I thank the Australian and USA authorities for their diligence in determining the compatibility of our systems culminating in this agreement,” he said.

“Behind the scenes, work like this can have real benefits to producers in Australia as our safe, high quality produce has even stronger credentials when compared with produce from a country that does not have its food safety systems recognised.”