Preparing for Export

1. Dairy Products

1.1 Can you accurately describe your dairy products to potential customers?

Your dairy products need to be described correctly for both potential customers and regulators. The international CODEX standards for various
milk products may be useful and you will need to specify a dairy category code for your product when exporting.

1.2 Do you know what the shelf life of your products will be?

You need to be able to maintain the quality of the product you make locally to sell to a market on the other side of the world. Can the quality and safety of your product be maintained throughout the supply chain? Guidance on determining an appropriate
shelf life is available from the NZ MPI, and decision support tools can be found at the Food Safety Centre.
Getting this wrong can put the health of consumers at serious risk and can lead to expensive and damaging food safety compliance action by FSANZ or a foreign
Government. A single incident can cause irreparable damage to the reputation of your product, company and possibly the wider Australian dairy industry.

1.3 Will your product have any distinguishing features or certifications?

These include quality certifications, quality descriptors and additional characteristics that will define it in the market place? Examples include Halal, Kosher, organic, etc.

1.4 Do you know the expected volume of products that you can reliably supply each year for your export business?

Will your product be sold in bulk for wholesale/commercial purposes or packaged for retail/consumers? If you intend to sell to some countries, such as some in the European Union or the United States of America, you may need to apply for a dairy quota licence as there could be a maximum quota limit on certain products.

2. Intended Export Market

2.1 Have you identified the overseas market you intend to export dairy products to?

The country or countries you intend to export to will have the specific regulatory requirements you need to know and these are found in the Manual of Importing Country Requirements (MICOR).
As expected, each country is different, so before you start your export process, you should consider how you will comply with their unique regulations as outlined in MICOR as well as providing a product that is attractive to the local consumers. Some countries require your company to be registered in their system before any trade commences. Austrade can assist in informing you of the trading climate and what you can expect when doing business with other countries and their cultures.

2.2 Do you know the target market for your product?

Your customers may be wholesale or retail. Will your product be competitively priced in that market? Will you sell your product in bulk or individually packaged for retail sale? Who will you sell your product/s to? Will you choose to use an agent or distributor? Most exporters like to visit their markets as a part of their research. Many first-time exporters sell through an agent, broker or a distributor based in the export market. Do you have an export market
entry strategy? The Export Council of Australia regularly hold information workshops and courses across Australia, which may assist in preparing you for the export journey ahead.

3. Business Plan

3.1 Have you developed a Business Plan for your dairy export venture?

There are a number of business plan templates and resources for setting up a new export businesses at Austrade.
Pay particular attention and seek advice on the likely resources required to develop and implement your food safety plan. The costs of compliance and product testing are frequently underestimated in the overall ‘costs of doing business’.

3.2 Have you decided on the type of entity you will trade under?

Your business plan should identify the structure of your enterprise and any intellectual property (IP) that requires protection. Business.gov.au provides a range of information on starting a new business, including on choosing a business structure. IP Australia has some practical advice on Protecting your IP.

3.3 Have you identified all participants in your supply chain?

Your export supply chain includes suppliers, customers, freight forwarders, distributors, agents, etc.

Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL) in collaboration with the Institute for Supply Chain and Logistics (ISCL) provide access to market data, information and insights and can introduce you to potential supply chain partners. Dairy Australia also
keeps a database of Australian suppliers of a range of dairy products and ingredients.

3.4 Have you completed your market research?

Your business plan should include a market analysis that identifies incentives and barriers. It should also include your marketing plan and resources for promotion of your products in domestic and overseas market places. Commercial market research
services are available or you can do the research yourself on domestic markets using data provided by FIAL, Dairy Australia or through Government sources. Austrade is a good place to start your research on export markets.

3.5 Do you have sufficient financial resources to support a new venture?

You will need to understand the capital and operational resources required for the first and subsequent batches. Know your break-even point and drivers of profit and loss. Research the costs carefully to ensure you have sufficient resources to cover
export compliance costs, as well as some contingency for the unexpected. Exporters need deep pockets and use a range of strategies to cover the risks of trading products internationally. Seek specialist advice as this is a specialist area. State and Commonwealth governments offer a range of assistance packages for new exporters – search grants for establishing new businesses.

3.6 Do you have the time and skills available to support a new venture?

New dairy businesses require a great deal of time and a special set of skills to get up and running. Ensure you have a team with the right mix of technical and business skills to support and nurture the business. Regulatory and food safety skills
are particularly critical as new regulatory approvals must be sought for domestic businesses expanding into export. Food safety compliance requires a significant on-going commitment from your business. Advice is available through your State Regulatory Authority and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources,
with private consultants contacted through the Dairy Industry Association of Australia.

4. Regulatory Requirements

4.1 Do you currently hold a dairy licence?

Businesses that manufacture or are involved in the storage or distribution of milk and dairy products within Australia must be licensed by the State Regulatory Authority of the State in which they operate. It is a condition of licence that the premise
implements a documented HACCP-based food safety plan. Having a licence for domestic manufacture is a prerequisite to being registered for export by DAWR.

4.2 Do you know the requirements to become export registered?

Businesses intending to process, store, handle, load and/or dispatch milk and milk products for export must be registered with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR). A step by step guide for exporting dairy products is available. Having an ‘approved arrangement
is a key requirement for export registration. Further details are available in the DAWR’s Understanding dairy export requirements.
Requirements of an approved arrangement and a checklist for the approved arrangement are published by DAWR.

4.3 Do you know the requirements of the country you intend to export your products to?

Most countries have specific requirements for dairy products they import. The requirements of each country are collated in MICOR. It is also wise to consult with
your shipping agent who may have knowledge and experience in getting products through border controls smoothly.

4.4 Are you familiar with the export documentation required for each export consignment?

Each consignment leaving Australia must have a valid export permit issued by DAWR, which is generated through the EXDOC system. The requirements for dairy exporters are explained on the DAWR website.

A Government issued export health certificate (where required by an importing country) facilitates the entry of the goods into the destination country. A completed customs declaration must also accompany each export consignment

Note that products to be exported that do not require a permit from DAWR may still require an export permit issued by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

4.5 Are you familiar with the EXDOC system?

Some importing countries require a health certificate issued by the Australian Government for each consignment of dairy product. The details are included in MICOR and the certificates are issued through the EXDOC system. Further information is contained in the DAWR Guideline for dairy exporting.

4.6 Do you require information on the other regulatory requirements for conducting business in Australia?

If you are setting up a new business in Australia, the Australian Business License Information Service (ABLIS) can help identify the Local, State and Commonwealth regulatory
requirements for operating any type of businesses in Australia.

5. Packaging & Labelling

5.1 Are you aware of the labelling requirements of the country you wish to export to?

As well as meeting Australian export requirements, there may also be specific labelling requirements set by the importing country. You should check these additional requirements carefully using MICOR. It is also a good idea to seek advice from your agent or distributor in the importing country to ensure your labelling is acceptable. The Codex General Standard on the Use of Dairy Terms (GSUDT) is the international standard on dairy product labelling. You should also consider Country of Origin labelling requirements.

5.2 Are you aware of the packaging requirements of the country you wish to export to?

As with labelling, the pack size and type of packaging for your exported products may have both regulatory and commercial constraints. MICOR will provide some guidance,
as will the local knowledge from your agent or distributor in the receiving country.

Larger manufacturers in Australia may be signatories to the Australian Packaging Covenant, which set guidelines on appropriate packaging to reduce waste streams.

5.3 Have you investigated the cultural or market preferences for your products?

In some highly-populated countries where storage space is limited, their markets are geared towards smaller portions. Although your Australian ‘best seller’ might be the economy size to feed the whole family, some countries will only purchase smaller
amounts more frequently, so make sure you understand the cultural preferences.

5.4 Have you protected your brand and intellectual property?

IP Australia has some practical advice on Protecting your IP in Australia and overseas. In addition to the designs of your labels and packaging, you should consider registering
your brand or trade mark before going global. Similarly, an IP search can prevent you from infringing on someone else’s IP.

6. Premises & Systems

6.1 Do you know what is required to have your premises registered for export?

Each premises where you intend to manufacture dairy products must be registered with DAWR before you are able to export. Having an approved arrangement in place, to manage food safety and other risks to the export product, as well as meet the importing country requirements is a key requirement of export registration.

6.2 Is your organisation’s food safety culture consistent with the ‘Know, Do, Follow Through’ practice?

Food safety and quality should be your business’s first priority. Any deficiency in infrastructure or systems can put consumers and your entire enterprise at risk. Regulatory controls through Food Standards Code are tight and commercial sanctions can be severe for sub-standard product. Guidance for dairy
processors is available. Traceability is a vital component of your food safety plan and is important to safeguard the reputation of your business. FSANZ’s food safety hub is a good resource to explore this topic further.

6.3 Are you looking to improve the technical skills in dairy manufacture?

An organisation’s human resources are the backbone to any operation.

Ensuring you and your staff are trained in HACCP food safety practices is an essential part of the dairy manufacturing process. Many commercial providers offer training in food safety, with the National Centre for Dairy Education offering dairy specific training. Engaging an experienced consultant could also be an option in some circumstances, with many being members of the Dairy Industry Association of Australia. FSANZ’s
food safety hub is a good resource to get you started.

6.4 Have you identified all of the service providers you will need?

There are a number of other organisations that you will need to engage to ensure your products meet regulatory requirements.
Examples include product testing laboratories, auditing services and technical advisors. Your State Regulatory Authority or the Dairy Industry Association of Australia can help put you in touch.

7. Sourcing & Suppliers

7.1 Do you need to source dairy ingredients from another dairy manufacturer?

Although primary production establishments and the transport of raw milk between farm and processor are excluded, establishments that prepare dairy ingredients for inclusion into dairy products destined for export need to be export registered. Each consignment of ingredient supplied needs to be accompanied by a Transfer Certificate, ensuring the integrity of the export supply chain.  Your ingredient suppliers should have reliable quality management
systems in place to provide assurance that their ingredients meet your quality expectations. Contracts should include ingredient specifications, as variations in ingredients can greatly change the characteristics of the final product.  Dairy
Australia has a ‘Who makes what‘ directory which can help identify suppliers of dairy ingredients & products.

7.2 Do you need to source non-dairy ingredients to incorporate into your products?

Although non-dairy suppliers may not be required to be export registered, the export manufacturer needs to certify that the dairy product they produce meets Australian and importing country regulatory requirements. Consequently purchasing non-dairy
ingredients from trustworthy suppliers with robust quality management systems is a must. Austrade’s Australian Suppliers Directory and Food Innovation Australia Ltd’s Ecatalogue can help you identify potential suppliers of non-dairy ingredients

7.3 Do you know if your suppliers have adequate quality systems in place to enable you to export your product?

Verification of your supplier’s product integrity through independently verified Quality Assurance systems with appropriate Quality Control procedures (testing) at
various points along the export supply chain is an integral part of an Approved Arrangement.

7.4 Do your trade contracts and business systems adequately manage the export trade risks?

Supply and sales contracts need to adequately mange the risks to your export business. These include product quality, safety, export compliance as well as the usual clauses to do with trading terms, logistics and continuity of supply. Austrade is a good place to start although you are likely to need specialist legal advice when trading internationally.

8. Logistics & Shipping

8.1 Do you understand the requirements for transporting dairy goods destined for export?

Transport of dairy products after the point of manufacture is a regulated part of the export supply chain, requiring participants to be export registered, and documentation to accompany each consignment. Different products have different transport
requirements and the shelf life of some products may limit their export potential. It is essential that you allow for time in transit, storage and potential delays when exporting dairy products.

8.2 Have you checked if all storage facilities are export registered?

Every storage facility that your product goes through will need to be export registered and compliant. It is a good idea to check MICOR for any additional importing
country requirements regarding storage. Engaging an international freight forwarding company is one way to ensure your goods are in experienced hands.

8.3 Do you know what documentation is required for each export consignment?

Dairy exports are highly regulated and each consignment needs to be accompanied with documentation to satisfy both exporting and importing country authorities, as well as the usual commercial certificates. Mistakes in documentation can result is serious
delays or outright rejection, so it may be useful to engage an agency or broker that knows the system and can help you navigate the process.

Export documentation must be lodged through EXDOC and can be submitted as a single transaction, or incrementally as it becomes known.

8.4 Do you know how your product will be transported out of Australia?

Since Australia is an island nation, we are only able to export by sea or air. Both transport methods require your products to leave and arrive through customs borders. Completing a thorough pre-loading check of the product and the accompanying documentation
is recommended before the shipment leaves your care. Photographic evidence can be useful if disputes arise.

8.5 Do you know the internationally accepted trading terminology?

There are some international freight terms (Incoterms) which might be unfamiliar to you, but understanding the differences will avert your
product waiting at a foreign port because the freight company only specified delivery to the border, not to your local distributor’s door. Read the fine print and make sure you ask questions if you do not understand the terms. If using a freight
forwarding company, they should make these terms clear to you.

9. Finance & Contracts

9.1 Do you require more information on international trading contracts?

How do you know that your contract with the buyer is enforceable beyond our borders? Legal contracts should be clear on terms of trade, onus
of responsibility and dispute resolution. Engaging a specialist in international commercial contracts can ensure your contract with the buyer is enforceable, fair and there are no hidden clauses that may leave you at a disadvantage. Every contract
should be explicit in when payment is required and when transfer of ownership of the goods takes place.

9.2 Are you confident trading in foreign currency?

Foreign exchange rates can be volatile, so it is a good idea to make sure the currency your contract specifies is relatively stable. If you are expecting to be paid in $AUD, this should be explicitly stated in your contracts as a net amount (after
any bank transfer charges incurred by the buyer so you are not left out of pocket). The Austrade website has some tips to help you negotiate
terms of payment.

9.3 Have you investigated insurance options for exporting?

The cost involved in export, distances, your lack of control over events (often driven by circumstances outside your control), make insurance and risk management a necessity. Insurance should cover the product whilst in your possession until the transfer of ownership is accepted by the customer. The policy should also include product liability. Experienced insurance brokers should be consulted as this
is a specialist area.

9.4 Are you aware of the costs associated with exporting products to your intended market?

The Austrade website can help guide you in the particular pricing methods you can use. As part of your price calculations, you should be aware
of the costs, fees, charges and duties that are incurred with the relevant authorities. Some are found on the DAWR charging guidelines.

10. Traceability & Business Continuity

10.1 Do you have a product recall procedure?

To protect consumers, many countries require importers to have a documented product recall system in place should
a food-safety problem be identified with imported dairy products. Your system should be practiced periodically, and appropriate insurances taken out. Product recalls or withdrawals can be extremely expensive, with exporters having little control
of activities initiated in destination countries. Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) have some practical advice for domestic manufacturers
on how to go about a product recall or a voluntary product withdrawal that is not a health and safety issue e.g. underweight products.

10.2 Do you have a policy for product returns?

If there are issues with your product on arrival or in the market place then in most cases you as the exporter will be involved, either to minimise financial losses, damage to the brand or perhaps to your company’s reputation. These issues need to
be thought through, and appropriate risk management steps taken before the first shipment. As a minimum, an agreed method of investigation and appropriate compensation arrangements should be determined and detailed in your contract with the buyer.
Bringing the product back to Australia is rarely an option for exported dairy products.

10.3 Have you considered how you will monitor the success of your product in the marketplace?

Regular visits to your overseas agents or customers is a good way to keep in touch with the trends in your target market and a chance to address any issues that may arise. It may be difficult to set the time aside from your Australian operation, but
the expense in doing so can be a good investment in maintaining your market share and possibly lead to other opportunities along the way.

10.4 Have you considered how you will provide support for your product in the marketplace?

Feedback from your overseas distributor on improvements to the product itself or the logistics pathways are important. If you are anticipating growth in sales, do you have sufficient marketing resources to promote your product to increase demand?
If you are in the process of exporting your product and are experiencing technical difficulties, the Export Council Australia could provide some assistance.

Export Trading

1. Dairy Products

1.1 Can you accurately describe your dairy products to potential customers?

Your dairy products need to be described correctly for both potential customers and regulators. The international CODEX standards for various milk products may be
useful and you will need to specify a dairy category code for your product when exporting.

1.2 Do you know what the shelf life of your products will be?

You need to be able to maintain the quality of the product you make locally to sell to a market on the other side of the world. Can the quality and safety of your product be maintained throughout the supply chain? Guidance on determining an appropriate
shelf life is available from the NZ MPI, and decision support tools can be found at the Food Safety Centre.
Getting this wrong can put the health of consumers at serious risk and can lead to expensive and damaging food safety compliance action by FSANZ or a foreign Government.
A single incident can cause irreparable damage to the reputation of your product, company and possibly the wider Australian dairy industry.

1.3 Will your product have any distinguishing features or certifications?

These include quality certifications, quality descriptors and additional characteristics that will define it in the market place? Examples include Halal, Kosher, organic, etc.

1.4 Do you know the expected volume of products that you can reliably supply each year for your export business?

Will your product be sold in bulk for wholesale/commercial purposes or packaged for retail/consumers? If you intend to sell to some countries, such as some in the European Union or the United States of America, you may need to apply for a dairy quota licence as there could be a maximum quota limit on certain products.  Consignments of less than 10kg do not need to be registered for export, however you should check the receiving country requirements as they may still insist on export certification from the Australian authorities.

2. Intended Export Market

2.1 Have you identified the country or countries you intend to export dairy products to?

The country or countries you intend to export to will have the specific regulatory requirements you need to know and these are found in the Manual of Importing Country Requirements (MICOR).
 As expected, each country is different, so before you start your export process, you should consider how you will comply with their unique regulations as well as providing a product that is attractive to the local consumers.  

Some countries such as China, require your company to be registered in their system before any trade commences. 

Austrade can assist understanding the trading climate and what you can expect when doing business with other countries and their cultures.

2.2 Do you know the target market for your product?

Your customers may be wholesale or retail. Will your product be competitively priced in that market?  Will you sell your product in bulk or individually packaged for retail sale? Who will you sell your product/s to?  Will you choose to use
an agent or distributor?

Most exporters like to visit their markets as a part of their research. Many first-time exporters sell through an agent, broker or a distributor based in the export market. Do you have an export market entry strategy? The Export Council of Australia regularly hold information workshops and courses across Australia, which may assist in preparing you for the export journey ahead.

3. Business Plan

3.1 Have you developed a Business Plan for exporting dairy products?

There are a number of business plan templates and resources for setting up a new export businesses at Austrade. Pay particular
attention and seek advice on the likely resources required to develop and implement your food safety plan. The costs of compliance and product testing are frequently underestimated in the overall ‘costs of doing business’.

3.2 Have you decided on the type of entity you will trade under?

Your business plan should identify the structure of your enterprise and any intellectual property (IP) that requires protection. Business.gov.au provides a range of information on starting a new business, including on choosing a business structure. IP Australia has some practical advice on Protecting your IP.

3.3 Have you identified all participants in your export supply chain?

Your export supply chain includes suppliers, customers, freight forwarders, distributors, agents, etc.  Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL) in collaboration with the Institute for Supply Chain and Logistics (ISCL) provide access to market data, information and insights and can introduce you to potential supply chain partners. Dairy Australia also keeps a database of Australian suppliers of a range of dairy products and ingredients.

3.4 Have you completed your market research?

Your business plan should include a market analysis that identifies incentives and barriers. It should also include your marketing plan and resources for promotion of your products in domestic and overseas market places. Commercial market research
services are available or you can do the research yourself on domestic markets using data provided by FIAL, Dairy Australia or through Government sources. Austrade is a good place to start your research on export markets.

3.5 Do you have sufficient financial resources to support a new venture?

The time between purchasing supplies and receiving payment for sales can be delayed when trading on international markets. Export traders use a range of strategies to cover the risks, including legal contracts, insurance and financing. The Austrade website is a good place to start although it is likely that you will need specialist advice when starting out. State and Commonwealth governments offer a range of assistance packages for new exporters – search grants for establishing new businesses.

3.6 Do you have the time and skills available to support a new venture?

New export ventures require a great deal of time and a special set of skills in business and finance, marketing, regulatory and technical fields. You may be trading in products towards the end of the export chain, but you need to make sure your suppliers,
agents and distributors have the right infrastructure, expertise and licences/approvals to under pin your export supply chain.

4. Regulatory Requirements

4.1 Do your suppliers currently hold an Australian dairy licence?

Export traders that do not manufacture or distribute dairy products in Australia generally do not need to be licenced by the State Regulatory Authority.

However export traders should check to ensure that any companies that supply them do possess a current dairy licence. 

4.2 Are all enterprises in your supply chain export registered?

Export traders that do not manufacture, process, store, handle or load dairy products for export generally do not need export registration.

However, export traders should check to ensure that any participants in their export supply chain that do undertake these activities are export registered. Export registration is administered by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR).
Further details are available in the DAWR’s Understanding dairy export requirements.

4.3 Do you know the requirements of the country you intend to export your products to?

Most countries have specific requirements for dairy products they import. The requirements of each country are collated in MICOR. It is also wise to consult with
your shipping agent who may have knowledge and experience in getting products through border controls smoothly.

4.4 Are you familiar with the export documentation required for each export consignment?

Each consignment leaving Australia must have a valid export permit issued by DAWR, which is generated through the EXDOC system. The requirements for dairy exporters are explained on the DAWR website.  The issue of an export permit facilitates the export of the goods from Australia.  The issue of an export health certificate (where required by
an importing country) facilitates the entry of the goods into the destination country.

A Government issued export health certificate (where required by an importing country) facilitates the entry of the goods into the destination country. A completed customs declaration must also accompany each export consignment.

Note that (non-dairy) products that do not require an export permit from DAWR, may still require an export permit issued by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

4.5 Are you familiar with the EXDOC system?

Some importing countries require a health certificate issued by the Australian Government for each consignment of dairy product. The details are included in MICOR and the certificates are issued through the EXDOC system. Further information is contained in the DAWR Guideline for dairy exporting. 

4.6 Do you require information on the other regulatory requirements for conducting business in Australia?

If you are setting up a new business in Australia, the Australian Business License Information Service (ABLIS) can help identify the Local, State and Commonwealth regulatory
requirements for operating any type of businesses in Australia.

4.7 Have you identified all service providers you will need?

There are other organizations and service providers that you may need to engage to ensure your exported products meet regulatory or customer requirements.  These include product testing laboratories, auditing services and technical advisors.
 

5. Packaging & Labelling

5.1 Are you aware of the labelling requirements of the country you wish to export to?

As well as meeting Australian export requirements, there may also be specific labelling requirements set by the importing country. You should check these additional requirements carefully using MICOR. It is also a good idea to seek advice from your agent or distributor in the importing country to ensure your labelling is acceptable. The Codex General Standard on the Use of Dairy Terms (GSUDT) is the international standard on dairy product labelling. You should also consider Country of Origin labelling requirements.

5.2 Are you aware of the packaging requirements of the country you wish to export to?

As with labelling, the pack size and type of packaging for your exported products may have both regulatory and commercial constraints. MICOR will provide some guidance,
as will the local knowledge from your agent or distributor in the receiving country.

5.3 Have you investigated the cultural or market preferences for your products?

In some highly-populated countries where storage space is limited, their markets are geared towards smaller portions.  Although your Australian ‘best seller’ might be the economy size to feed the whole family, some countries will only purchase
smaller amounts more frequently, so make sure you understand the cultural preferences.

5.4 Are you able to use your Australian brand overseas?

In addition to the designs of your labels and packaging, you should consider registering your brand or trade mark before going global. Similarly, an IP search can prevent you from infringing on someone else’s IP. 

6. Premises & Systems

If your enterprise does not physically handle export products, your premises do not need to be export registered. However, you still need to be aware of Australian export requirements so you can satisfy yourself that your supply chain is compliant.
Further assistance can be found on the DAWR website.

7. Sourcing & Suppliers

7.1 Do you need to source dairy ingredients from another dairy manufacturer?

Although primary production establishments and the transport of raw milk between farm and processor are excluded, establishments that prepare dairy ingredients for inclusion into dairy products destined for export need to be export registered. Each consignment of ingredient supplied needs to be accompanied by a Transfer Certificate, ensuring the integrity of the export supply chain.  Your ingredient suppliers should have reliable quality management
systems in place to provide assurance that their ingredients meet your quality expectations. Contracts should include ingredient specifications, as variations in ingredients can greatly change the characteristics of the final product.  Dairy
Australia has a ‘Who makes what‘ directory which can help identify suppliers of dairy ingredients & products.

7.2 Do you need to source non-dairy ingredients to incorporate into your products?

Although non-dairy suppliers may not be required to be export registered, the export manufacturer needs to certify that the dairy product they produce meets Australian and importing country regulatory requirements. Consequently purchasing non-dairy
ingredients from trustworthy suppliers with robust quality management systems is a must. Austrade’s Australian Suppliers Directory and 
Food Innovation Australia Ltd’s Ecatalogue can help you identify potential suppliers of non-dairy ingredients.

7.3 Do you know if your suppliers have adequate quality systems in place to enable you to export your product?

Verification of your supplier’s product integrity through independently verified Quality Assurance systems with appropriate Quality Control procedures (testing) at various points along the export supply chain is an integral part of an ‘Approved Arrangement‘.

8. Logistics & Shipping

8.1 Do you understand the requirements for transporting dairy goods destined for export?

Transport of dairy products after the point of manufacture is a regulated part of the export supply chain, requiring participants to be export registered, and documentation to accompany each consignment. 

Different products have different transport requirements and the shelf life of some products may limit their export potential. It is essential that you allow for time in transit, storage and potential delays when exporting dairy products.

8.2 Have you checked if all storage facilities are export registered?

Every storage facility that your product goes through will need to be export registered and compliant.  You will need to check MICOR for any additional importing
country requirements regarding storage.  Engaging an international freight forwarding company is one way to ensure your goods are in experienced hands.

8.3 Do you know what documentation is required for each export consignment?

Dairy exports are highly regulated and each consignment needs to be accompanied with documentation to satisfy both exporting and importing country authorities, as well as the usual commercial certificates. Mistakes in documentation can result is serious
delays or outright rejection, so it may be useful to engage an agency or broker that knows the system and can help you navigate the process.

Export documentation must be lodged through EXDOC and can be submitted as a single transaction, or incrementally as it becomes known.

8.4 Do you know how your product will be transported out of Australia?

Since Australia is an island nation, we are only able to export by sea or air.  Both transport methods require your products to leave and arrive through customs borders.  Often it is the length of shelf life that will determine the best
transport method to use.  Requesting photographic evidence of product as it is loaded for export can be useful if disputes arise. 

8.5 Do you know the internationally accepted trading terminology?

There are some international freight terms (Incoterms) which might be unfamiliar to you, but understanding the differences will avert your
product waiting at a foreign port because the freight company only specified delivery to the border, not to your local distributor’s door.  Read the fine print and make sure you ask questions if you do not understand the terms. If using a
freight forwarding company, they should make these terms clear to you. 

9. Finance & Contracts

9.1 Are you familiar with international trading contracts?

How do you know that your contract with the buyer is enforceable beyond our borders? Legal contracts should be clear on terms of trade, onus
of responsibility and dispute resolution. Engaging a specialist in international commercial contracts can ensure your contract with the buyer is enforceable, fair and there are no hidden clauses that may leave you at a disadvantage. Every contract
should be explicit in when payment is required and when transfer of ownership of the goods takes place.

9.2 Are you confident trading in foreign currency?

Foreign exchange rates can be volatile, so it is a good idea to make sure the currency your contract specifies is relatively stable.  If you are expecting to be paid in $AUD, this should be explicitly stated in your contracts as a net amount
(after any bank transfer charges incurred by the buyer so you are not left out of pocket).

The Austrade website has some tips to help you negotiate terms of payment.

9.3 Have you investigated insurance options for exporting?

The cost involved in export, distances, your lack of control over events (often driven by circumstances outside your control), make insurance and risk management a
necessity.  Insurance should cover the product at each stage of your export supply chain until the transfer of ownership is accepted by the customer. Product liability insurance may also be prudent in some markets. Experienced insurance brokers
should be consulted as this is a specialist area

9.4 Are you aware of the costs associated with exporting products to your intended market?

The Austrade website can help guide you in the particular pricing methods you can use. As part of your price calculations, you should
be aware of the costs, fees, charges and duties that are incurred with the relevant authorities. Some are found in DAWR charging guidelines.

10. Traceability & Business Continuity

10.1 Do you have a product recall procedure?

Many countries require importers to have a documented product recall system in place should a food-safety
problem be identified with imported dairy products. Your system should be practiced periodically, and appropriate insurances taken out. Product recalls or withdrawals can be extremely expensive, with exporters having little control of activities
initiated in destination countries. Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) have some practical advice on how to go about a product
recall or a voluntary product withdrawal that is not a health and safety issue e.g. underweight products.

10.2 Do you have a policy for product returns?

If there are issues with your product on arrival or in the market place then in most cases you as the exporter will be involved, either to minimise financial losses, damage to the brand or perhaps to your company’s reputation. These issues need to
be thought through, and appropriate risk management steps taken before the first shipment. As a minimum, an agreed method of investigation and appropriate compensation arrangements should be determined and detailed in your contract with the buyer.
Bringing the product back to Australia is rarely an option for exported dairy products.

10.3 Have you considered how you will monitor the success of your product in the marketplace?

Regular visits to your overseas agents or customers is a good way to keep in touch with the trends in your target market and a chance to address any issues that may arise. It may be difficult to set the time aside from your Australian operation, but
the expense in doing so can be a good investment in maintaining your market share and possibly lead to other opportunities along the way.

10.4 Have you considered how you will provide support for your product in the marketplace?

Feedback from your overseas distributor on improvements to the product itself or the logistics pathways are important. If you are anticipating growth in sales, do you have sufficient marketing resources to promote your product to increase demand?
 If you are in the process of exporting your product and are experiencing technical difficulties, the Export Council Australia could provide some assistance.

Domestic Manufacture and/or Distribution

1. Dairy Products

1.1 Can you accurately describe your dairy products to potential customers?

Your dairy products need to be described correctly for both potential customers and regulators. Definitions of milk and dairy products are set out in the Food Standards Code for domestic markets. The international CODEX standards and/or IDF Standard are useful references for the terms used to describe different dairy products. FSANZ regulates Standards for
dairy products sold on the domestic market.

1.2 Do you know what the shelf life of your products will be?

The safety and quality of the product needs to be maintained from the point of manufacture through to the point of consumption. Guidance on determining an appropriate shelf life is available from the NZ MPI, and decision support tools can be found at the Food Safety Centre. Getting this wrong can put the health of consumers at serious risk and can lead to
expensive and damaging food safety compliance action by FSANZ. Even a bad product quality review from a consumer can damage the reputation of your product
and company.

1.3 Will your product have any distinguishing features or certifications?

These include quality certifications, quality descriptors and additional characteristics that will define it in the market place? Examples include Halal, Kosher, organic, allergen-free etc. Businesses need to be aware of consumer protections under
Australian consumer law.

1.4 Do you know the expected volume of products that you can reliably supply each year?

Continuity of supply is vitally important for your customers. Volumes and maturation times need to be taken into consideration when planning your sales strategy. The volume you manufacture may dictate whether you sell to wholesale or retail markets. 

2. Intended Market

2.1 Do you know the target market for your product?

Your customers may be wholesale or retail.  Will you package your products in bulk (for further processing) or will they be ready packed for retail sale? 

Perhaps you will engage an agent or distributor to distribute and market your products for you. Clearly defining your path to market is an important step in planning your business.

3. Business Plan

3.1 Have you developed a Business Plan for your dairy venture?

There are a number of business plan templates and resources for setting up a new businesses at Business.gov.au. Pay particular attention and seek advice on the likely resources required to develop and implement your food safety plan. The costs of compliance and product testing are frequently underestimated in the overall
‘costs of doing business’.

3.2 Have you decided on the type of entity you will trade under?

Your business plan should identify the structure of your enterprise and any intellectual property (IP) that requires protection. Business.gov.au provides a range of information on starting a new business, including on choosing a business structure. IP Australia has some practical advice on Protecting your IP.

3.3 Have you identified all participants in your supply chain?

Your supply chain includes suppliers, distributors, agents, retailers and customers. State Government business support services and Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL) can
introduce you to potential supply chain partners. Dairy Australia also keeps a database of the Australian suppliers of a range of
dairy products and ingredients.

3.4 Have you completed your market research?

Your business plan should include a market analysis that identifies incentives and barriers. It should also include your marketing plan and resources for promotion of your products. Commercial market research services are available or you can do the
research yourself using data provided by FIAL, Dairy Australia or through Government
sources.

3.5 Do you have sufficient financial resources to support a new venture?

You will need to understand the capital and operational resources required for the first and subsequent batches. Know your break-even point and drivers of profit and loss. Research the costs and ensure you have sufficient resources to implement the
food safety plan, as well as some contingency for unexpected expenses. Seek financial advice with regards to setting up a business and taxation implications. State and Commonwealth governments offer a range of assistance – search grants for establishing new businesses.

3.6 Do you have the time and skills available to support a new venture?

New dairy businesses require a great deal of time and a special set of skills to get up and running. Ensure you have a team with the right mix of technical and business skills to support and nurture the business. Regulatory and food safety skills
are particularly critical as regulatory approvals must be sought and new plant, equipment and systems are commissioned in the start-up phase. Food safety compliance requires a significant on-going commitment from your business. Technical expertise
and contacts are available through your State Regulatory Authority the Dairy Industry Association of Australia.

4. Regulatory Requirements

4.1 Do you currently hold a dairy licence?

Businesses that manufacture or are involved in the storage or distribution of milk and dairy products within Australia must be licenced by the State Regulatory Authority of the State in which they operate. It is a condition of licence that the premise
implements a HAACP-based food safety program based
on the Food Standards Code, which includes several relevant Standards in Chapters 1, 2, 3 & 4. Guidance on what
needs to be included in a food safety plan for a dairy manufacturing business is provided by most State Regulatory Authorities.

Having a dairy licence for domestic manufacture and/or distribution is a prerequisite to being registered for export by DAWR. 

4.2 Do you require information on the other regulatory requirements for conducting a business in Australia?

If you are setting up a new business in Australia, the Australian Business License Information Service (ABLIS) can help identify the Local, State and Commonwealth
regulatory requirements for operating any type of business in Australia.

4.3 Have you identified all service providers you will need?

There are other organizations and service providers that you may need to engage to ensure your products meet regulatory or customer requirements.  These include product testing laboratories, auditing services and technical advisors.  

5. Packaging & Labelling

5.1 Have you organized how your product will be packaged and labelled?

Regulatory requirements for food labelling and packaging must be met, as set out in Chapter 1 of the Food Standards Code, under Australian consumer law, and by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Country of origin labelling requirements for food sold in Australia also came into effect on July 1, 2016 so you need to ensure that all labelling of dairy products sold in Australia complies with the information standard.

The product type and target market will also dictate what type of packaging is appropriate for your product. Companies that specialise in the supply of food packaging for the domestic market are a good resource for a new dairy business.

5.2 Have you protected your brand and intellectual property?

You should consider registering your brand or trade mark if you want your product to be associated with your company in the market.  This decision will have
implications for the labels and packaging used on your products. Similarly, an IP search can prevent you from infringing
on someone else’s IP. 

6. Premises & Systems

6.1 Do you know what is required to have your premises licenced for domestic production?

Each premises where you intend to manufacture dairy products must be registered with the State Regulatory Authority before you are able to commence operations. The requirements for dairy premises are set out in the Food Standards Code which includes several relevant Standards in Chapters 3 and 4. Guidance on what needs to be included in a food safety plan for a dairy manufacturing business is also provided by most State Regulatory Authorities.

6.2 Is your organisation’s food safety culture consistent with the ‘Know, Do, Follow Through’ practice?

Food safety and quality should be your business’s first priority. Any deficiency in infrastructure or systems can put consumers and your entire enterprise at risk. Regulatory controls through Food Standards Code are tight and commercial sanctions can be severe for sub-standard product. Guidance for
dairy processors is available. Traceability is a vital component of your food safety plan and is important to safeguard the reputation of your business. FSANZ’s food safety hub is
a good resource to explore this topic further.

6.3 Are you looking to improve the technical skills in dairy manufacture?

An organisation’s human resources are the backbone to any operation.  Ensuring you and your staff are trained in HACCP food safety practices is an essential part of the dairy manufacturing process. Many commercial providers offer training in
food safety, with the National Centre for Dairy Education offering dairy manufacture specific training. Engaging an experienced consultant could also be an option in
some circumstances, with many being members of the Dairy Industry Association of Australia. FSANZ’s food safety hub is a good resource to get you started.

7. Sourcing & Suppliers

7.1 Do you need to source milk or dairy ingredients?

Domestic dairy supply chains, including primary producers (farmers) and milk transport businesses, are regulated by the State Regulatory Authority of the State or Territory in which they operate. These suppliers must be licenced to legally sell milk
intended for human consumption. 

Apart from these mandatory food safety requirements, your ingredient suppliers should also have reliable quality management systems in place to provide assurance that their supplies meet food safety and quality expectations. Supply contracts should
include ingredient specifications, as variations in ingredients can greatly change the characteristics of the final product.  Dairy Australia has a ‘Who makes what
directory which can help identify suppliers of dairy ingredients & products.

7.2 Do you need to source non-dairy ingredients to incorporate into your products?

Although non-dairy suppliers may not be required to be licenced by the SRA, you are required to effectively manage the food safety risks that they may introduce to your dairy supply chain.  Consequently, purchasing non-dairy ingredients from
trustworthy suppliers with robust quality management systems is a must. Austrade’s Australian Suppliers Directory and Food Innovation Australia Ltd’s Ecatalogue can help you identify potential suppliers of non-dairy ingredients.

7.3 Do you know if your suppliers have adequate quality systems in place to enable you to meet your food safety obligations?

Verification of your supplier’s product integrity through independently verified Quality Assurance systems with appropriate Quality Control procedures (testing) at various points along the supply
chain is the best way to obtain this assurance.

8. Logistics & Shipping

8.1 Does your product have special transport requirements?

Distribution of dairy products after the point of manufacture is a regulated part of the supply chain, requiring participants to be licenced by the State Regulatory Authority.
Dairy products for domestic markets are usually perishable, meaning that specialist cold chain logistics providers are often required. Contingencies for disruptions need to be planned and the potential risks to product appropriately managed and
documented in your food safety program.

8.2 Have you checked if all storage facilities are licenced?

Every storage facility that your product is warehoused in needs to be licenced by the SRA.

9. Finance & Contracts

9.1 Are you familiar with business contracts?

Advice on starting and/or conducting a business is available through small business advisory services offered by State Governments. In particular, businesses need to be familiar with Australian consumer law.

Contracts for the sale of product should be clear on terms of trade, onus of responsibility and dispute resolution. Your contract should be explicit in when payment is required and when transfer of ownership of the goods takes place.

9.2 Have you investigated insurance options for your product?

Insurance should cover the product at each stage of your supply chain until the ownership is transferred to the customer. Product liability insurance may also be prudent. Experienced insurance brokers should be consulted as this is a specialist area.

10. Traceability & Business Continuity

10.1 Do you have a product recall procedure?

By law, all food businesses must be able to quickly remove food from the marketplace to protect public health and safety. Your documented product recall plan should
be practiced periodically. 

Product recalls or withdrawals can be extremely expensive so appropriate insurances need to be taken out. Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) have
some practical advice on how to go about a product recall or a voluntary product withdrawal that is not a health and safety issue e.g. underweight products.

10.2 Do you have a policy for product returns?

If there are issues with your product identified by customers or consumers then in most cases you as the manufacturer will be involved, either to minimise financial losses, damage to the brand or perhaps to your company’s reputation. These issues
need to be thought through, and appropriate risk management steps taken before any incident occurs. 

As a minimum, an agreed method of investigation and appropriate compensation arrangements should be determined and detailed in your contract with the buyer. Customers and consumers have some legal protections through Australian consumer law.

10.3 Have you considered how you will monitor the success of your product in the marketplace?

Seeking feedback from customers and consumers is a good way to keep in touch with the trends in your target market and a chance to address any issues that may arise. It may be difficult to set the time aside from your manufacturing operation, so these
tasks are often out-sourced.

10.4 Have you considered how you will provide support for your product in the marketplace?

Feedback from your distributors or customers is important, but having an agent to represent your product in the market place can provide them with a greater level of service. Do you have sufficient marketing resources to promote your product in the
market place?