Importers facing prosecution for illegal Korean food

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 15th April 2011

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 prohibited food from Korea which it says 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,” 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 said it had visited the retail stores and recovered all non-compliant food products, and that the importers were now facing prosecution. The service did not reveal what kinds of products had been retrieved, or from where, however FSANZ has not issued any related product recalls.

AQIS is authorised to investigate, seize and destroy illegally imported food under the Quarantine Act 1908. Imported products that do not meet import conditions may be exported, destroyed or treated at the importer’s expense.

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