Latest News

15 January 2019

AMRG releases Guideline 2019:1 – Post Mortem Meat Inspection - Alternative Techniques to Schedule 2 of AS 4696:2007

Post mortem inspection of meat in Australia is done in accordance with the requirements of the Australian Standard for Hygienic Production and Transportation of Meat and Meat Products for Human Consumption AS 4696:2007 (Australian Meat Standard). Australian Meat Regulators Group has released a Guideline that includes changes relating to the provision for recognition of the equivalence of alternative technique procedures.

This guideline replaces Schedule 2 as published in the Australian Meat Standard. Techniques prescribed in this guideline will be applied by all State/Territory Meat Safety Regulators in administering post-mortem inspection procedures.

What are the changes?
Some procedures will be moving towards an observe (i.e. visual inspection) status unless information is available that would warrant more invasive procedures (e.g. palpation or incision). Key procedures affected:

  • Bovine tuberculosis – minimal inspection
  • Spleens in sheep and goats – observe
  • Pigs – visual inspection
  • Pig kidneys – visual inspection of enucleated kidneys for human consumption
  • Sheep and goat kidneys - visual inspection of enucleated kidneys for human consumption
  • Caseous lymphadenitis in sheep and goats – palpate 4 lymph nodes only (superficial cervical – pre-scapular, pre-crural, popliteal, ischiatic).

When does this change take effect?
These changes are effective from 1 January 2019 as defined in the Guideline for alternative techniques. Audits will commence against the procedures in the alternative technique guideline on 1 July 2019. This will result in the current AS4696:2007 – Schedule 2 procedures becoming non-compliant with cl 10.5 of AS 4696:2007. Plants will need to adopt the alternative techniques into their operations. The guideline will then become the document that PrimeSafe will use to determine compliance with AS 4696:2007.

20 November 2018

PrimeSafe eNews 6 now available

Read the latest PrimeSafe eNews 6 - November 2018. This edition features ready-to-eat meats, announcement of PrimeSafe's free food safety program for retail butcher shops, game meat licensing and licence renewal.

19 October 2018

Game Meat Processing

Information on the recently released PrimeSafe game meat approval and licences are now available on this website in the Game Meat Processing licensing section.

3 October 2018

Game Meat Harvesting Guideline

PrimeSafe has released the Game Meat Harvesting Guideline. PrimeSafe will publish further information on this news page, at a later date, when applications can be received and assessed. Application forms and fees are currently not available. For further enquiries, please email PrimeSafe at

11 September 2018

PrimeSafe eNews 5 now available

Read the latest PrimeSafe eNews 5 - September 2018. This edition features alternative techniques, animal welfare, sheep traceability - NLIS tags, poultry mince and safe seafood storage.

8 June 2018

Release of PrimeSafe Processing Minced Meat Guideline

Click here to view PrimeSafe's Processing Minced Meat Guideline (May 2018).

25 May 2018

PrimeSafe eNews 4 now available

Read the latest PrimeSafe eNews 4 - May 2018. This edition includes articles on audits, the updated Reduced Audit Program, Country of Origin Labelling, shelf life labelling, bivalve shellfish biotoxins and reminders on licence renewals and the upcoming forum in June 2018.

24 May 2018

Primesafe Licensing Of Game Meat Harvesting

The Minister for Agriculture has advised PrimeSafe of changes to legislation that prescribe wild deer as game meat that may result in the expansion of the Victorian game meat industry.

PrimeSafe is now developing food safety licensing and compliance requirements to support these recent changes. When the new regulatory system is in place, wild deer may be harvested for human consumption, or for pet food by a PrimeSafe licensed Field Harvester.  Wild deer for human consumption must be processed at a PrimeSafe licensed Game Meat Processing Facility, while wild deer for pet food will be processed at a PrimeSafe licensed Pet Meat Processing Plant (knackery).

The new food safety regulatory system will integrate the existing regulatory arrangements for harvesting wild game from the Wildlife Act 1975 with the existing Australian Standard for the Hygienic Production of Wild Game Meat for Human Consumption (AS 4464: 2007) at PrimeSafe licensed Game Meat Processing Facilities. The new licenses will also integrate the requirements for wild game harvesting for pet food with the existing Australian Standard for the Hygienic Production of Pet Meat (PISC Technical Report 88 – Amended 2009) at PrimeSafe licensed Pet Meat Processing Plants.

PrimeSafe will provide information to prospective licensees once the new licenses have been approved and implemented. This is likely to take a few months.

To register your interest in becoming licensed to harvest game meat, or for further enquiries, please email PrimeSafe at

21 May 2018

PrimeSafe Direction for PrimeSafe Victorian Wildcatch (Abalone) and Victorian Wildcatch (Crustaceans) licence holders

PrimeSafe licence holders of a Victorian Wildcatch (Abalone) licence or Victorian Wildcatch (Crustaceans) licence have recently been mailed a PrimeSafe Direction notice with their renewal notice.

The Minister for Agriculture has announced that the handling of live abalone or live rock lobster would be exempt from PrimeSafe licensing requirements from 1 July 2018.

In order to implement this change, the following actions are required:
1. Amendment by the Minister for Agriculture of the Seafood Safety Regulations 2014, and
2. Assessment by PrimeSafe that the seafood business is exempt from the requirement to hold a PrimeSafe licence.

In order for PrimeSafe to assess your licensing requirements, PrimeSafe licensees that handle live abalone or live rock lobster are required to complete and return the declaration to PrimeSafe by 30 June 2018 via email:, fax: (03) 9696 5284, or mail: PO Box 2057, South Melbourne, Vic 3205.

A declaration must be submitted for each PrimeSafe seafood business licence held.

Failure to accurately submit this completed declaration to PrimeSafe may result in incorrect licensing requirements being applied to your seafood business.

If you have any questions on this direction and declaration, please contact the PrimeSafe office on (03) 9685 7366 or

22 March 2018

New Country of Origin Labelling Requirements

The Australian Government has introduced a new country of origin food labelling system.

Implementation of the new system commences on 1 July 2018. Under the new system, country of origin food labelling requirements are regulated by Australian consumer law.

The reform has transferred country of origin food labelling obligations to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). This means that from 1 July 2018, PrimeSafe is not able to receive complaints about country of origin labelling or consider compliance with country of origin labelling requirements.

The ACCC now has full responsibility for the regulation, compliance and enforcement of country of origin labelling requirements.

Information regarding the new labels is available on the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science website.

General information about the new country of origin labelling requirements is available from the ACCC website.

The following are some useful links for country of origin labelling:

20 February 2018

PrimeSafe eNews 3 now available

Read the latest PrimeSafe eNews 3 - February 2018. This edition features articles on allergens and meat and seafood transportation (Meat Transport Vehicles – MTVs).

23 November 2017

PrimeSafe eNews 2 now available

Click here to read PrimeSafe eNews 2 - November 2017. With the festive season approaching, this edition of PrimeSafe eNews provides guidance on keeping food safe by ensuring temperature control.

16 August 2017

Launch of PrimeSafe eNews

PrimeSafe eNews Banner

Click here to view PrimeSafe's first edition of the eNews for the latest information from PrimeSafe.

To subscribe to future email updates, click here to complete the PrimeSafe eNews sign-up form.

26 April 2017

Support for businesses is a top priority for PrimeSafe
To provide more support for businesses, accommodate structural change within the industries it regulates, and deliver on expectations from Government and licensees, some PrimeSafe licence categories and fees will change from July 1.
A review of licence categories and fees identified that some categories were no longer relevant, the scale of businesses had diverged, and categories and fees had not changed for over a decade. The full licence fee schedules are available below.
The industry is experiencing a consolidation of larger business with increasing complexity. However, the level of food safety risk is not related to the size of a business and there is a dramatic increase in the number of new small businesses that need information about compliance as they establish and innovate. 
The changes will affect the following licence categories:
• Abattoirs;
• Facilities supervised by the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture and Water Resources;
• Poultry processing facilities;
• Further meat processing facilities;
• Retail butcher shops; and
• Meat Transport Vehicles.
All revenue to PrimeSafe for regulating Victoria’s meat, seafood and pet food industries comes from licence fees.  PrimeSafe receives no funding from Government. Where fees have increased, they are now closer to the costs of regulating that business. PrimeSafe has consulted with industry and licensees and worked hard to ensure fee changes recognise the different needs of different sized businesses, and support new and smaller operations, especially those investing in higher risk products.
The review of licence and fee changes was instigated in February 2016 when PrimeSafe prepared a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) to fulfil legislative requirements and address the Victorian Government’s Statement of Expectations based on the 2015 Myers Review of the organisation’s performance. The public was invited to comment on the RIS, and the Victorian Government has approved the processes used for PrimeSafe to implement the licence fee increases proposed in the RIS.
The changes will ensure PrimeSafe can meet its regulatory obligations and maintain public confidence in the safety of meat, seafood and poultry in Victoria.  They will also improve equity between licensees through better alignment of regulatory costs and fees paid, as well as support affordability in particular for smaller businesses.
The changes are particularly relevant for Meat Transport Vehicle licences that now have three categories to reflect different sizes of vehicles.  Licence fees are $131 for a commercial van, $199 for a truck or trailer under 4.5 GVM, and $252 for a truck or trailer over 4.5 GVM. The changes impact larger vehicles most significantly. While still less than fees in other states, the fees are now closer to the actual cost of regulating each vehicle, and the level of risk associated with the volume and type of product carried, whilst allowing for the needs of small businesses operating small vehicles. The fees together with a detailed letter to MTV licensees will be forwarded in early May 2017.
Licence categories for processing facilities will also receive formal notification in May 2017, have been rationalised as some were no longer being used, and some will experience a fee increase.
In particular, businesses that manufacture higher risk smallgoods that require increased compliance and information services will have a fee increase, although the majority of that will be delayed for 12 months.
All licence fees for butchers will increase from $273 to $326 with their renewal from 1 November 2017. Those producing smallgoods will increase to $676 from 1 January 2019. 
There are about 200 retail smallgoods manufacturers that will be impacted across Victoria, representing up to 10% of facilities and less than 3% of all 7300 licensees. It costs PrimeSafe over $1,000 per year to support and regulate each of these businesses. These businesses have the largest support and compliance requirements of the sector and generates 40% of all enquires, 32% of consumer complaints, 44% of Listeria notifications from the Department of Health and Human Services and 64% of compliance and enforcement activities.
PrimeSafe recognises this is a significant increase for these licensees. But with increasing demand for information and compliance for this sector, the increased fee in 18 months is considered appropriate to balance the needs of these businesses within PrimeSafe’s full cost recovery and user pays obligations.
PrimeSafe sought direct industry input into this decision, and its implementation over two years was recommended by industry.
Over the past 18 months PrimeSafe has refocused, with the Myer’s Review recommendations and the Minister of Agriculture’s Statement of Expectations now implemented.
Licensees have been engaged throughout these changes, and all were independently surveyed to determine their information and support needs.
While the majority of respondents viewed PrimeSafe’s communication as appropriate and professional, as well as of value to their businesses, survey results show that licensees would like more frequent and easily understood information from PrimeSafe. The importance respondents placed on convenience and efficiency corresponded with a preference for email communication.
Likewise, the majority of licensees expressed confidence in their knowledge of licensing, audit, and compliance and enforcement by PrimeSafe, but many new entrants to the industry seek additional information and support, with only around 30% of all respondents regularly using professional food safety consultants.
PrimeSafe has introduced an additional information and support function and licensees are encouraged to visit the website and review the services and information available.  Of those who have accessed the new information and support service, two-thirds report it as being of value to their business. Other changes include the reduced audit program, with interested licensees able to apply to PrimeSafe.
PrimeSafe is currently reviewing existing guidance material in light of survey respondents asking for more information on other issues such as allergens and ready-to-eat products. These new guides will be tested in upcoming forums conducted in Melbourne and across regional Victoria.
Prospective and current licensees with specific enquires are encouraged to contact PrimeSafe on telephone: (03) 9685 7333 or

24 August 2016

Electronic identification for sheep and goats

PrimeSafe welcomes the decision by the Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford to implement individual livestock electronic identification for the Victorian sheep and goat meat industries.

PrimeSafe will work with sheep and goat meat processors and Agriculture Victoria to transition to the new electronic identification system that will enhance traceability through the value chain, making it substantially more effective and efficient to manage biosecurity and food safety.

More information about Victoria’s new electronic sheep and goat electronic identification system is available from Agriculture Victoria.