Understanding obligations when importing pet food

Trade is essential for any country and Australia relies on exports and imports for the development and growth of the economy.

All importers must understand their obligations when importing pet food. Those obligations include ensuring all documentation is correct and compliant with the Biosecurity Act 2015

Biosecurity is about preventing diseases and pests that can harm humans, animals or plants, from reaching Australia. Biosecurity control has allowed our nation to remain free from the world’s most severe pests and diseases. It helps us retain our highly favourable animal, plant and human health status, and wide access to overseas markets. Australia is free from a number of biological threats, such as foot and mouth disease, that have had major economic and environmental consequences for other countries.

It is the importer’s responsibility to use the Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON) and determine whether a commodity intended for import into Australia

  • is permitted
  • is subject to import conditions
  • requires supporting documentation
  • ​requires treatment
  • needs an import permit.

BICON houses the Australian Government’s Biosecurity import conditions database for more than 20,000 plants, animals, minerals and biological products. It will help you to determine what import conditions exist and if an import permit is required.

You can use BICON to determine whether a commodity intended for import into Australia: is permitted; is subject to import conditions; requires supporting documentation; requires treatment; needs an import permit.

Using BICON (Biosecurity Import Conditions System) to find import conditions

See Example Below

01.Search for a case

Go to

– Importing
– Search Pet food

02.Answer import questions

Pet Food – This case describes the requirements for the importation of pet food including pet food ingredients.

Answer each set of questions:
– Does your product contain only low risk biological ingredients? No – Click next
– Is the pet food for dogs or cats? Yes – Click next
– What best describes your product? Canned or retorted pet food – Click next
– Does the pet food contain ruminant derived ingredients other than bovine dairy derived ingredients? Yes – Click next
– Do the ruminant derived ingredient(s) originate from animals of Australian and/or New Zealand origin? No – Click next

03.Import conditions

Case: Pet food Effective: 04 Dec 2019

Other than listed low risk biological ingredients — For dogs or cats — Canned or retorted — Contains ruminant derived ingredients — Ruminant derived ingredients not of Australian/New Zealand origin or not exported from New Zealand

Import Conditions

Import conditions define the biosecurity requirements which must be met for your import. Where import conditions have been developed, they will be listed below.

Prior to the importation of goods into Australian territory, a valid import permit issued by the Department of Agriculture is required.
An import permit may be obtained by submitting an import permit application to the department (if viewed online, use the ‘Apply Now’ button at the bottom of this page).

You will need to complete the relevant animal feed checklist, as you may be asked to provide these details during the permit application.

Under the Biosecurity Charges Imposition (General) Regulation 2016 and Chapter 9, Part 2 of the Biosecurity Regulation 2016, fees are payable to the Department of Agriculture for all services. Detail on how the department applies fees and levies may be found in the Charging guidelines.

In addition to the conditions for the goods being imported, non-commodity concerns must be assessed including container cleanliness, packaging and destination concerns, and may be subject to inspection and treatment on arrival. Please refer to the Non-Commodity Cargo Clearance BICON case for further information.

To apply for an import permit you must complete an application for Canned or retorted pet food
Apply Now

Search for case

The three search types available in BICON are:
Quick Search; Scientific Name Search; Tariff Search

Search results display all cases that match your search criteria. A case contains a title and a broad description of the types of goods that match that case.  Notice that the Non-Commodity case is presented first – you must comply with all relevant conditions.  Review the case descriptions and identify the case that matches the goods you wish to import.  Select the case title to complete the import questions.

Note that the matching case for the goods you wish to import may not be displayed first in the list of cases.

If you have any questions you can contact [email protected]

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