Producers of smallgoods and dairy products have been informed by Australia Post that the national carrier will no longer deliver perishable goods from July.
In an announcement made yesterday, Australia Post blamed its decision on “complex food safety and regulatory requirements” demanded of it by differing states and territories.
Producers of butter, cheeses, chocolates, truffles, native bush ingredients and artisans in rural areas are expected to be worst hit by the move.
“We understand the impact of this decision on many producers, and we are currently working with our customers and industry regulators to determine a path forward,” a spokesman said in the statement.
“This includes meeting with food safety regulators and health authorities to discuss the regulations imposed on Australia Post.
“The carriage of perishable food requirements differ by state and include complex requirements on vehicle type, site and vehicle registration, licence maintenance, staff training and audit requirements.”
Some producers of niche food products such as smoked salmon were alerted to the move in early March when parcel delivery specialist StarTrack, a subsidiary of Australia Post, indicated it would discontinue services that carried perishable food items it had long moved as part of its express freight offering.
Under Australia Post terms and conditions guidelines perishable foods are defined as eggs, fish, poultry, meat, game, fruit and vegetables.
Several independent and family-owned businesses reliant on speed-to-market as part of their crucial eCommerce bottom line today are faced with growing uncertainties as to how they will be impacted by the announcement.
Last week Australia Post named former Woolworths Group executive Paul Graham as its new Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director.