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Food importers warned of heavy fines

25 March, 2014

Food importers are on notice to comply with Australian government regulation with Queensland's B&E Packaging fined $7,500 and court costs for breaching Australian importing requirements.

The Department of Agriculture's First Assistant Secretary for Border Compliance, Colin Hunter, said importers are responsible for ensuring that all food imported into Australia complies with standards set out in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

"There can be costly consequences for breaching requirements as one food importer recently discovered," Hunter said.

Xu Chun Dong, company director for B&E Packaging, appeared before the Southport Magistrates Court in Brisbane last week and was charged with one count of breaching section 9(1A) of the Imported Food Control Act 1992 – offences relating to dealing with examinable food.

Under the Imported Food Inspection Scheme, managed by the department, 1500kg of cooked and peeled prawns imported by B&E Packaging from Vietnam was subject to mandatory inspection and testing.

The company failed to undertake the required testing and released the prawns without authorisation.

Hunter stressed the importance of all imported food meeting stringent food standards and importation requirements.

"Importers must comply with government requirements for the testing and inspection of food," Hunter said.

"Blatant or deliberate disregard of Australia's food safety and importing requirements will not be tolerated.

"Where necessary regulatory requirements will be enforced and may result in matters being referred to the Court."

For more information on requirements for importing food into Australia visit Importing Food to Australia.
 

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Geoff Moran | Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 9:58 AM
The fine was so little that the importer could not care less about it. He would have made 10 times that in profits from the sale. illegal imports bring disease, pests and problems that we don't need in this country.
Rodney Barnes | Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 10:46 AM
$7,500 is a joke. just another example of how little protection local products receive. While cheats prosper and place consumers at risk.
Peter Storey | Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 12:24 PM
With more and people settling here and setting up start-up businesses here in Australia this will become more commonplace and with the increasing risk of disease amongst our food stocks and possible illness caused in consumers. Australians want to know what we are eating and where it originates and to be able to choose and decide about quality of food and if it meets the standards. Importers of food needs to be regulated by suitable licensing in such as way that importers will lose licenses, their licenses will be revoked, and those responsible blacklisted from being involved with food importation in the future. Fines alone are not sufficient to curb the temptation to do what B& E Packaging have done ther eneeds to be the threat of losing the right to import food! Only this way can we protect teh Australian markets and ecosystems.