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The Pom Queen

Importing Pet Food in to Australia

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I know a couple of members were discussing importing pet food for their cats or dogs in to Australia so I thought I would ask @PSS International Removals  professionals on Shipping goods. Liam kindly provided me with a link to the eligible criteria which is below.

Enclosure 5: Pet Food Import Requirements – DAFF Biosecurity

Under Australia’s Quarantine Act 1908, the DAFF Biosecurity has responsibility to prevent the introduction, establishment or spread of pests and diseases.  The Quarantine Proclamation 1998 refers to the level of quarantine risk and the imposition of appropriate conditions that the Director of Quarantine must consider before granting an import permit. 

An import permit is required for almost all pet food products which contain animal, plant or microbial derived ingredients.  This includes products which are imported for non commercial/personal use.  The only exceptions to this are rawhide dog chews and non-salmonid finfish in consumer ready form.

The regulatory requirements set by DAFF Biosecurity in regards to imported pet food vary depending on level of quarantine risk posed by the product and this is based on the ingredients contained in the pet food, the country of origin and manufacture and the heat treatment applied to the product.  This information is assessed on a case by case basis as part of the import permit application process and is used to determine the appropriate conditions that would be required to reduce the quarantine risk to an acceptably low level.

In general, a pet food ingredient (or the final product) is considered acceptable for import if it is heat-treated sufficiently to address Australia’s quarantine concerns.  For example, ingredients of mammalian, avian or salmonid origin generally require a moist heat treatment to achieve a core temperature of at least 100oC for a minimum of 30 minutes.  

Any non salmonid finfish material used in an uncanned pet food product must undergo a moist heat treatment to achieve a minimum core temperature of either:

80°C for at least 20 minutes; or
85°C for at least 15 minutes.

Canned or retorted pet food products must be heated to a minimum core temperature of 100°C, obtaining an F0 value of at least 2.8.

The heat treatments outlined above are considered to be sufficient to eliminate most pathogens of quarantine concern, such as FMD, however they will not address the quarantine risks associated with Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs) (e.g. Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and Scrapie).

As such, any bovine and ovine material used in pet food products must be sourced from a country considered by DAFF Biosecurity to be of low risk in regards to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and Scrapie respectively.  This is assessed on a case by case basis as part of the import permit application process.

For products that do not meet heat-treatment requirements or if a manufacturer is unable to provide DAFF Biosecurity with sufficient information to complete the assessment, importers may be given the option to irradiate the pet food on arrival to address outstanding quarantine concerns.

As above, this treatment option will not address the quarantine risks associated with TSEs.  In addition, this gamma irradiation is only available for dog food products and is not offered as an option for pet food products intended for cats.

In addition to the heat treatment and sourcing requirements DAFF Biosecuritygenerally requires that manufacturing facilities of uncanned pet food undergo DAFF Biosecurity approval.  This is achieved by an initial desk audit of the facility and possibly a site audit of the facility.  All costs incurred as part of the audit process will be at the importer's cost.  

The only exceptions to audit requirements are:

a) Products are gamma irradiated on arrival at 50 kGrays.
b) Products that contain animal material that has been derived from and manufactured in New Zealand.
c) Products manufactured and exported from the USA or Canada, where the manufacturing facility has been approved by the appropriate government body in that country.

If an Import Permit is issued by DAFF Biosecurity, it will generally require each consignment to be accompanied by a manufacturer’s declaration and government veterinary certification attesting to the following:

Manufacturer’s declaration - the species and country of origin of the animal ingredients; and the heat treatment applied to the individual ingredient and/or final product (in accordance with the relevant treatment requirement outlined above).

Government veterinary certification – that a competent authority veterinarian has examined the manufacturer's declaration, and has no reason to doubt the truth of this declaration; that the animal derived material was subjected to ante- and post-mortem veterinary inspection and were found to be free from contagious and infectious disease; and, confirmation of the species and country of origin of any ruminant material contained in the product.


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Thanks for organising this response - it's really helpful. So even if a petfood importer wanted to bring in a shipment for resale of cat treats we shall not name but rhymes with beanies, they wouldn't be able to because they won't pass the tests. Perhaps they could be encouraged to manufacture locally - the parent company offers their other pet brands here.

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