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New processes for food processors

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N E W S •! E L E ACS. E

PIE93l7GR' 22 January 1993


Changes to commodity Orders - legislation for processors of export fish, dairy . and egg products - were announced today by the Minister for Resources, Alan Griffiths.

Taking effect immediately, the Export Control (Processed Food) Orders replace the Export Control Fish Orders, Export Control Dairy Produce Orders and Export Control Egg Orders.

"The three commodity groups are now governed by the same generic _piece of legislation," Mr Griffiths said.

"A review of food inspection systems by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) identified a need to harmonise inspection operations across these commodities and bring them into line with international trends.

"The new Orders mark an end to traditional end-product inspection by AQIS for dairy, fish and egg exports, and place a greater emphasis on operators adopting quality assurance programs."

Under the new system, manufacturers, must comply with two fundamental requirements -..that premises are registered, and that processing takes place in accordance with an AQIS-approved system.

Two main modes of inspection are generally available to manufacturers:

1. The Food Processing Accreditation (FPA) System - based on the internationally accepted Hazards Analysis Critical Control. Point (HACCP) concept - which replaces end-product inspection (Product Monitoring System)::.

2. Approved Quality Assurance (AQA) arrangements, which are retained as the alternative form of inspection. AQA is a quality assurance system, based on HACCP .principles; under which the manufacturer operates a quality manual, and is regularly audited by AQIS..

"The Export Control .(Processed Food) Orders are designed to give industry more flexibility of operation," Mr . Griffiths said.

Further information ,: AQIS: Peter Maple, Ph: (06) 272 5419 Attached: Details of the Export Control(Processed Food) Orders


Phone: (06). 277 7480


Canberra ACT 2600 Fax: (06) 273 4154





Currently fish, dairy and egg commodities are inspected by AQIS by either:

The Product Monitoring System (PMS), based on end product inspection; or

Approved Quality Assurance (AQA) arrangements, with industry responsible for producing product to meet the requirementsof the various commodity Orders.

Both PMS and AQA are commodity specific and relate to stringent structural and product standards, with varying degrees of devolvement to industry of responsibility for product quality.

Late in 1990, the Processed Foods Inspection Operations Section of AQIS completed a review of inspection systems for fish and dairy operations. In light of the review findings, changes to the operational environment and recent moves by other overseas authorities, AQIS considered that it should move to a wholly HACCP based inspection

system for such processed foods.. Following negotiations with industry, new Export Control (Processed Food) Orders (PFOs) were drafted to replace the PMS system of inspection with.a new HACCP based inspection system.- AQA still remains an inspection option under these :Orders.'

The PFOs are "generic" in that they apply similar standards for the preparation of fish, dairy and egg products: They will replace the Export' Control Fish Orders, Export Control Dairy Produce Orders, and. Export Egg Orders.


The new Orders- require manufacturers to comply with two fundamental requirements:

1 the premises are required to be registered

2. processing must take place in accordance with an approved system.


Inspection Systems

Two modes of inspection are employed by AQIS under these Orders:

process control using the Food Processing Accreditation (FPA) system.

self regulation by the processor under an Approved Quality Assurance (AQA) arrangement as previously permitted under commodity specific Orders.-

1). Food Processing Accreditation System (FPA)

The FPA inspection system is based on the HACCP identification concept, which uses .recognised principles to identify and document processing hazards in the factory. Companies seeking to operate an FPA- system must document the following:

(a) a process flow chart for each product and/or process; and

(b) a HACCP table for each product and/or process containing -

(i) identification of hazards in the raw material, processing packing and storage of the processed foods;

(ii) identification of critical control points;

(iii) controls that relate to the critical control .points which will ensure the safety and truth of labelling of the product, together with compliance with other legislative requirements. This includes details of specifications, tolerances, procedures, responsibilities, tests and recording.and

(iv) details of the corrective action which will be taken in case the controls fail:

AQIS assesses and approves the documented HACCP, system -and assigns'a risk. category to the establishment on the basis of the potential public health. risk of the food produced.

The establishment is also assessed against structural and operational standards relating to good manufacturing practice,and is assigned a performance rating.


With an FPA system in place, AQIS inspects the establishment to assess compliance with the FPA system at a frequency determined by the ask category of the commodities produced, and the establishment's performance rating;

Companies move up or down the rating scale according to the degree of compliance with their FPA _program. The frequency of AQIS assessment can vary from once a year to every fortnight. Companies which consistently perform well against the requirements of the Orders receive less inspection than those which do not

Frequency of assessment of fishing vessels is an exception. Under FPA registered vessels will be inspected twice a year on average, in the course of routine operations.

The focus of inspection under FPA is on criteria which indicate fitness for human consumption and accuracy of trade description. Generally this system does not examine quality parameters except where industry has-asked that they be addressed.

Every company which is producing dairy, fish or egg commodities, but not operating an AQA system, will be required to have an approved FPA system within twelve . months, as the basis for inspection by AQIS officers.

2) Approved Quality Assurance (AQA)

The new Orders retain AQA as an alternative form of inspection. AQA is a quality assurance based system which also requires the processor to use HACCP to define the: specifications, control and corrective action measures and personnel responsible for ensuring that the quality assurance system is effective. In addition the rest of the quality management system in the establishment is documented in the form of a quality manual. AQIS then monitors the effectiveness with which the company operates the quality' system through a program of random' audits against the q quality manual. Y through 1 4 tY


All existing registered fish, dairy and egg processing, packing and storage establishments will still be required to be registered. , The exception are fishing vessels, which will only require registration if they process fish:

Procedures for registration of. land-based establishments and vessels have been simplified

To facilitate development of new markets, companies may export up to five lots of product for trial purposes to new markets. within a non-renewable twelve month period . without registration of the premises.' This is still subject to the product having been handled and processed as required by the :Orders.


Structural Requirements

Common structural standards based on good manufacturing practice have been developed for premises. These are considerably simpler than the tight specifications previously imposed and should allow companies more . flexibility.


End-product inspection by AQIS will no longer be carried out routinely. Companies with an approved FPA or AQA program will be free to export product manufactured in accordance with the approved process. They may also register one or more employees as signatories authorised to sign export permits.

Health- certification of a commercial nature for product processed in the company's factory can also be signed by an authorised signatory. Such . authorised signatories must be "fit and proper persons" in accordance with the Export Control (Prescribed Goods) General Orders.

As long as an approved FPA or AQA program is in place, companies will be free to export product without routine end-point inspection by AQIS.

Companies with authorised signatories will not need to give AQIS prior notification of intention to export, but will be required to notify AQIS within two working days of export.

Identification of -Product

Companies will be required to clearly identify product. and maintain product records for trace back purposes. Serial numbers, which are currently compulsory on all export fish . cartons, will no longer be mandatory provided companies can clearly identify their product.

Movement between Establishments

Transfer certificates will be required for the movement of product in the export system between registered establishments. However,: companies may obtain approval for alternate methods of recording transfers.


Laboratory Certification

Product standards have been greatly simplified, removing the need for some laboratory . certification Where certification is required AQIS will accept certification from the company itself provided the analysis is carried out in a NATA registered laboratory.

Export Food Standards

All of the specific commodity standards have been re-written removing quality . parameters and focussing instead on those criteria which indicate fitness for human consumption and accuracy of trade description. The exception is canned abalone, where, at the request of industry, quality standards have been retained.


The Export Control (Processed Food) Orders are designed to give industry considerably more. flexibility of operation, and the opportunity to choose the most cost effective' inspection approach that suits their business. The FPA system offers reduced inspection to companies that consistently perform well according to the legislation.