A review of biosecurity import requirements for fresh avocado fruit (Persea americana) from Chile
We are conducting a risk analysis for fresh avocado fruit (Persea americana) from Chile.
We will conduct the risk analysis in three key steps:
- Announce the commencement of the risk analysis on 23 March 2018 via
Biosecurity Advice 2018-05 and the
Announcement Information Paper. We will conduct a scientific review of the groups of pests associated with fresh avocado fruit from Chile.
- Conduct an assessment of pests of biosecurity concern associated with avocados from Chile, and release the draft report on 28 February 2019, via
Plant Biosecurity Advice 2019/P03 for a 60 day public consultation period, closing on 29 April 2019.
- Release the final report (expected in late 2019), following consideration of stakeholder comments.
A summary of the review background and process is available in the
Purpose of this risk analysis
We received a formal market access request for fresh avocado fruit to Australia from Chile. Avocados are Chile’s highest priority horticultural new market access request.
Australia (as a World Trade Organization member) must meet its international obligations by assessing market access requests (import proposals) and developing the least trade restrictive and scientifically justified import conditions where required. Our trading partners use the same principles when assessing Australian market access requests.
The draft report proposes that importation of fresh avocado fruit from all commercial production areas of Chile be permitted, subject to a range of biosecurity requirements.
The draft report identifies seven quarantine pests associated with fresh avocado fruit from Chile that require risk management measures, in combination with operational systems, to achieve the appropriate level of protection for Australia. These pests are:
- Fruit flies: Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata)
- Mealybugs: grape mealybug (Pseudococcus maritimus)
- Thrips: Chilean flower thrips (Frankliniella australis), tamarugo thrips (Frankliniella gemina) and western flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis)
- Mites: avocado brown mite (Oligonychus punicae) and avocado red mite (Oligonychus yothersi)
The proposed risk management measures include:
- for Mediterranean fruit fly: area freedom or fruit treatment (such as cold disinfestation treatment) for all cultivars; or hard condition of fruit for the Hass cultivar only
- for mealybugs, mites and thrips: consignment freedom verified by pre-export visual inspection and, if detected, remedial action.
Upon finalising this policy, Chile must be able to demonstrate to the department that processes and procedures are in place to implement the agreed risk management measures. This will ensure safe trade in fresh avocados from Chile. Import conditions can then be published on the department’s biosecurity import conditions (BICON) database.
Download the draft report
If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit
web accessibility for help.
We invite you to submit written comments on the draft report during the consultation period. Your feedback will be considered in preparing the final report.
The consultation period will close on
29 April 2019.
Register as a stakeholder
We use the stakeholder register for distributing biosecurity risk analysis policy information. Stakeholders interested in receiving information and updates on biosecurity risk analyses are invited to subscribe via the department’s online
subscription service. By subscribing to
Biosecurity Risk Analysis Plant, you will receive Biosecurity Advices and other notifications relating to plant biosecurity policy.
Protecting Australia from exotic pests
Australia is free from many of the world’s most damaging plant pests. Exotic plant pests are capable of damaging our natural environment, destroying our food production and agriculture industries, and some could change our way of life. Australia’s biosecurity system, which includes the risk assessment process, helps protect us from exotic plant pests.
We undertake risk assessments of pests and identify risk management options to address any risks posed by these exotic pests. These measures reflect Australia’s overall approach to the management of biosecurity risk.
Zero risk is impossible. Aiming for zero risk would mean no tourists, no international travel and no imports of any commodities. Australia invests heavily in biosecurity to ensure risks are managed.
Australia exports almost two-thirds of its agricultural produce. The future of our agricultural and food industries, including their capacity to contribute to growth and jobs, depends on Australia’s capacity to maintain its animal and plant health status.
Australia accepts imports only when we are confident the risks of pests and diseases can be managed to achieve an appropriate level of protection for Australia.
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.
The basic obligations of the SPS Agreement are that SPS measures must:
- be based on a risk assessment appropriate to the circumstances or drawn from standards developed by the World Organization for Animal Health and the International Plant Protection Convention
- only be applied to the extent necessary to protect human, animal or plant life or health
- be based on science
- not arbitrarily or unjustifiably discriminate between WTO members, or be a disguised restriction on trade.
Under the SPS Agreement, 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 – in other words, its appropriate level of protection.
Appropriate level of protection
The appropriate level of protection (ALOP) for Australia is defined in the
Biosecurity Act 2015 as ‘a high level of sanitary and phytosanitary protection aimed at reducing biosecurity risks to very low, but not to zero’. This definition was agreed with all our state and territory governments and recognises that a zero-risk stance is impractical.
The ALOP is a broad objective, and risk management measures are established to achieve that objective.
Read more about Australia’s ALOP
The term ‘biosecurity risk’ is used to describe the combination of the likelihood and the consequences of a pest or disease of biosecurity concern 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.
New scientific information
Scientific information can be provided to the department at any time, even after a review has been completed. The department will consider the information provided and will review the import policy, if required.
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 Food Standards Code. The standards apply to all food in Australia, irrespective of whether it is grown domestically or imported.
Timing of imports
Following the consideration of stakeholder comments on the draft report, a final report is released. The final report reflects the completion of the risk analysis. Before imports can commence, we:
- verify that a country can action the recommended risk management measures
- publish import conditions on the Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON)
- issue import permits for trade to commence.
The decision to import agricultural produce to Australia is a commercial decision between a supplier in the exporting country and an importer in Australia who can meet the import conditions.
For more information, stakeholders can email
imports or phone 1800 900 090 (option 1, option 1).