Media statement: Planned changes to import conditions for uncooked prawns

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is working to develop interim import conditions to allow the safe resumption of trade in uncooked prawn and prawn meat.

A six month trade suspension for all uncooked prawn products was declared on 6 January 2017 by the Director of Biosecurity. The suspension will lapse on 6 July, 2017.

Some prawn products, including dried prawns, uncooked Australian prawns, and uncooked prawns and prawn meat marinated for human consumption, have been exempted from the suspension.

In order to manage the biosecurity risks of the exempt prawn products , interim import conditions were developed which include strict pre-export and on-arrival testing for prawn diseases – white spot syndrome virus and yellow head virus.

In preparation for the end of the suspension the department is informing prawn importers about expected changes to import conditions for all prawn products, including the uncooked prawn products which are still subject to the suspension.

It is intended that requirements for pre-export and on-arrival testing will be maintained for those categories of prawns currently exempt from the import suspension.

It is also expected that the interim import conditions developed for the remaining categories of prawns will include similar stringent measures.

These interim import conditions are likely to apply until the formal review of import conditions for prawns and prawn products for human consumption is finalised.

This thorough review is considering the biosecurity risks of imports from all countries and will recommend appropriate import conditions to manage them. This process is expected to take up to two years.

Prawn importers will be informed of any decisions concerning interim import conditions before the 6 July, 2017.

For more information, see Biosecurity Advice 2017-10 on the department’s website.

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