5.2 Chicken meat and trade - Imports
Chicken meat cannot be freely imported into Australia due to strict quarantine requirements in place to protect both local commercial poultry and native birds from disease and consumers from certain food safety hazards. Quarantine conditions focus on nine diseases and pathogens of concern, and any chicken meat products from regions which are not free of all of these diseases needs to be cooked to various extents depending on the disease in question in accordance with the relevant import protocol.
As a result, Australia is not a significant importer of chicken meat. In the ten years to 2010, Australia imported 60 tonnes of chicken meat, whereas it produced well over 7,000,000 tonnes of chicken for Australia’s consumers.
The chicken imported to Australia is generally in tinned and fully retorted foods, such as canned chicken meat, which has had prolonged exposure to high temperature while in its container. Occasionally, small amounts of frozen cooked chicken meat are imported from New Zealand when exchange rates favour such trade. No whole chickens or fresh meat are imported.
For quarantine reasons, live birds cannot be imported. Fertile eggs imported for breeding purposes are brought in through quarantine facilities where the birds remain after hatching under constant veterinary control until they are nine weeks of age, whereupon they are moved out of quarantine onto secure breeding farms well removed from any other poultry.
More information: www.biosecurityaustralia.gov.au