Importers facing prosecution for illegal Korean food

4 April 2011
DAFF11/006D

A group of food importers and retailers has been investigated by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) for importing and selling Korean food illegally.

Mr Tim Chapman, General Manager of AQIS Quarantine Operations, said AQIS officers intercepted a shipment of food from Korea that was not allowed to be imported, and did not meet Australian food safety standards.

“On further investigation, AQIS identified a number of importers who had routinely imported food containing meat and dairy products that did not meet Australia’s import conditions,” Mr Chapman said.

“When we identified all of the importers who were bringing in the non–compliant food, we were then provided with a list of the retail stores they supplied. On further investigation we identified several more retailers.”

AQIS visited the retail stores and recovered all non–compliant food products.

Where quarantine conditions have not been met, AQIS is authorised to investigate, seize and destroy illegally imported food under the Quarantine Act 1908. The importers are now facing prosecution.

Mr Chapman said there are strong reasons why some foods cannot be imported to Australia.

“Some foods and other products could bring in exotic pests or diseases that can be harmful to our agriculture, various industries and our unique environment,” Mr Chapman said.

“It is crucial that all importers and retailers are aware of, and comply with, Australia’s import conditions.”

Import conditions can be found by using AQIS’s Import Conditions database. This database allows importers to search for the product they wish to import and determines if they need to apply for an import permit.

Imported products that do not meet import conditions may be exported, destroyed or treated at the importer’s expense.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

A fact sheet providing advice to importers and retailers of Korean food is available on the AQIS website. A Korean language version is also available.

Importers and retailers requiring further information are welcome to phone AQIS on (02) 6272 5447 or visit an AQIS office in their area.

Food safety standards must also be met and these are administered by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).