Virtual inspection of imported food a reality

17 August 2021
  • Virtual inspections of low-risk imported food are now available.
  • Successfully trialed in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Importers of low-risk food now have the option of booking a virtual inspection when their food is referred to the Imported Food Inspection Scheme.

Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud said the new method of inspections is a win-win for food safety and importers.

“Normally, an officer will travel to the importer’s premises to inspect food imported into Australia,” Minister Littleproud said.

“For low-risk food, these inspections involve visually checking the food for damage or deterioration or infestation, and labels for compliance with the Food Standards Code.

“During 2020, the department trialled virtual inspections in real time using a smart portable device. 

“Importers are supportive of these inspections as it reduces waiting times for inspections and the risk of COVID.

“It also frees up officers to conduct inspections of higher risk foods in person.

“The fact that these inspections can be beamed anywhere, anytime means a huge efficiency into our inspection process. 

“Due to these benefits, the department is exploring similar arrangements for certain other types of inspections.

“By moving to virtual inspections, our high standards continue to be met while creating efficiencies for the department and industry.

“This is part of our modernisation and codesign journey we are delivering with industry.

Interested importers can find out more about virtual inspections by emailing IFIS-InspectionSupport@agriculture.gov.au