Review of import conditions for apiaceous crop seeds for sowing into Australia

​​​​The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is conducting a review of import conditions for apiaceous crop seeds for sowing into Australia. This review of import conditions for apiaceous crop seeds is the first in a series of vegetable seed policy reviews, which includes Cucurbitaceae (cucumber, gourd, melon), Brassicaceae (cauliflower, cabbage) and Solanaceae (capsicum, eggplant, tomato).

Vegetable seeds are imported from all sources under our standard import conditions for seeds for sowing. Recent changes in risk profile of apiaceous crop seeds have prompted us to review the existing import conditions to ensure they adequately address biosecurity risks.

We will conduct the review in three key steps:

  • Preliminary review of scientific knowledge of pests and diseases of concern, conducting a risk assessment and developing proposed risk management measures.
  • Release draft report for public comment, available for 60 days.
  • Consider stakeholder comments in preparing the final report in 2018.

This review is funded by the Australian Government’s Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.

Make a submission

We invite you to submit written comments on the draft report during a 60 day consultation period. Your feedback will be considered when we prepare the final report.

Submissions close on 13 November 2017.

You can read the draft review and make a submission.

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Draft review

This draft review evaluates the effectiveness of existing risk management measures and proposes new mandatory phytosanitary measures to reduce the risk of identified pests entering Australia.

Purpose

Australia relies on the overseas supply of seeds for apiaceous herb and vegetable crop production. Seeds are imported from all sources under our standard seed for sowing import conditions.

We are undertaking an extensive review of these existing import conditions of vegetable seeds including those for apiaceous crops. The review is in response to:

  • an increase in seed-borne pathogens reported outside their known distribution, in part linked to the increasing globalisation of the vegetable seed trade
  • changes in seed production practices that have increased the likelihood of the seeds exposure to pathogens and the introduction of pathogens to new areas.

The review will be conducted as a review of import conditions (non-regulated risk analysis) to assess the biosecurity risks associated with seeds being imported into Australia.

Scope

Candidatus Liberibactersolanacearum’ (‘Ca. L. solanacearum’) is not known to occur in Australia but has caused serious damage to carrot and celery production in Europe, therefore it is a pest of quarantine concern for Australia.

Confirmation that this bacterium, which affects apiaceous crops, is seed-borne and seed transmissible in carrot prompted this review.

This review also identifies other pests associated with the seeds of several apiaceous crops, meeting the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) criteria for a quarantine pest.

Identified quarantine pests, in addition to CaLsol, include Cercospora foeniculiCercosporamalkoffiiFusarium oxysporum f. sp.coriandrii, Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cuminiPhoma complanata, Phomopsis diachenii, Ramularia coriandri, Ramularia foeniculi and Strawberry latent ringspot virus.

Unrestricted risk of these quarantine pests does not achieve the appropriate level of protection (ALOP) for Australia. Additional risk management measures are required.

Summary of proposed measures

We propose additional phytosanitary measures for Apium graveolens, Carum carviCoriandrum sativumCuminum cyminumDaucus carotaFoeniculum vulgare, Pastinaca sativa, Petroselinum crispum and Pimpinella anisum.

Additional phytosanitary measures may include:

  • mandatory testing or treatment (offshore or onshore) for Apium graveolens, Carum carvi, Coriandrum sativumCuminum cyminumDaucus carotaFoeniculum vulgarePastinaca sativaPetroselinum crispum and Pimpinella anisum seeds as specified in this review
  • requirement that seed lots tested or treated off-shore be accompanied by an official government Phytosanitary Certificate endorsed with the additional declaration that the consignment has undergone mandatory treatment or testing in accordance with Australian import conditions.

Not all the crop species reviewed were found to be affected by pests of quarantine concern to Australia.

We propose that these seed species do not require testing or treatment and can continue to be imported under Australia’s standard seed for sowing import requirements: Anethum graveolens, Angelica archangelica, Angelica atropurpurea, Angelica dahurica, Angelica gigas, Angelica glauca, Angelica pachycarpa, Angelica sinensis, Angelica pubescens, Angelica setchuenensis, Angelica sylvestris, Angelica taiwaniana, Angelica triquinata, Angelica ursina, Anthriscus caucalis, Anthriscus cerefolium, Anthriscus sylvestris, Apium prostratum, Carum copticum, Daucus glochidiatu, Pimpinella leptophylla and Pimpinella saxifraga.

We will consider alternative measures to manage the risk of the identified seed-borne pathogens including sourcing seeds from pest free areas, pest-free place of production, or produced under a systems approach. However, NPPOs must provide us with an appropriate submission demonstrating pest free area status, pest-free place of production status or describing their preferred systems approach and rationale, for our consideration.

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Draft review of import conditions for apiaceous crop seeds for sowing into Australia PDF2321.4 MB
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General information

Type of process

The review of biosecurity import requirements (a non-regulated risk analysis) is a process used by the department to consider an import proposal when potential pests of concern identified in a preliminary assessment are the same as, or similar to, pests for which risk management measures are already established.

These reviews are comprehensive reviews of existing import requirements and new science.

If the risks posed by an import proposal exceed Australia’s appropriate level of protection (ALOP), the review will specify that the import will not proceed, unless appropriate risk management measures have been identified that will reduce those risks to an acceptable level.

Review considerations

The review considers the risks of pests and diseases associated with the proposed import along with any risk management measures that could address these risks.

All World Trade Organization (WTO) members are signatories to the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (the SPS Agreement), under which they have both rights and obligations. Each WTO member is entitled to maintain a level of protection it considers appropriate to protect human, animal or plant life or health within its territory.  This is called the appropriate level of protection (ALOP).

Appropriate level of protection (ALOP)

Australia’s ALOP is defined in the Biosecurity Act 2015 as providing a high level of sanitary and phytosanitary protection aimed at reducing biosecurity risk to a very low level, but not to zero.

This definition has been reached with the agreement of all state and territory governments and recognises that a zero risk stance is impractical because this would mean Australia would have no tourists, international travel or imports.

The ALOP is a broad objective, and risk management measures are established to achieve that objective.

Biosecurity risk

The term ‘biosecurity risk’ is used to describe the combination of the likelihood and the consequences of a pest or disease of biosecurity entering, establishing and spreading in Australia.

Australia’s biosecurity system protects our unique environment and agricultural sector, and supports our reputation as a safe and reliable trading nation. This has significant economic, environmental and community benefits for all Australians.

Identifying risk

A risk analysis is an examination of the potential biosecurity risks associated with an import of animals, plants or other goods into Australia. It plays an important role in protecting Australia’s biosecurity.

If the assessed level of biosecurity risk exceeds Australia’s ALOP, the department will consider whether there are any risk management measures that would reduce biosecurity risk to achieve the ALOP. If there are no risk management measures that reduce the risk to that level, trade will not be allowed.

New scientific information

Scientific information can be provided to the department at any time, including after a review has been completed. The department will consider the information provided and will review the import policy, if required.

Protection from exotic pests in Australia

A comprehensive risk assessment of pests and diseases will be undertaken and risk management options will be recommended to address any risks of exotic pests and diseases. Any recommended measures will reflect Australia’s overall approach to the management of biosecurity risk.

Zero risk is impossible; it would mean no tourists, international travel or imports of any commodities. Australia invests heavily in biosecurity to ensure risks are appropriately managed and achieve Australia’s ALOP.

Australia exports almost two thirds of its agricultural produce. The future of our agriculture and food industries, including their capacity to contribute to growth and jobs, depends on Australia’s capacity to maintain a good plant and animal health status.
Australia accepts imports only when we are confident the risks of pests and diseases can be managed to achieve Australia’s appropriate level of protection.

Meeting Australia’s food standards

Imported food for human consumption must satisfy Australia’s food standards. Australian law requires that all food, including imported fresh fruit, meets the standards set out in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code and the requirements of the Imported Food Control Act 1992. Each state and territory also has its own food laws that must be met.

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) is responsible for developing and maintaining the Code, including Standard 1.4.2, maximum residue limits. The standards apply to all food in Australia, irrespective of whether it is grown domestically or imported.

Timing of imports

Following assessment of the pest risks identified, if risk management measures achieve Australia’s ALOP, imports may be permitted. However, it will be a commercial decision by an Australian importer to apply for an import permit in order for imports to commence.

Contact information

For more information, stakeholders can email Plant stakeholders ​or phone +61 2 6272 5094.