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.
- Release the draft risk analysis for a 60 day public consultation period in early 2019.
- Release the final risk analysis in 2020, 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 from Chile for the importation of avocados to Australia. Avocados are Chile’s highest priority horticultural new market access request.
As a World Trade Organization member, Australia is required to assess market access proposals and develop the least trade restrictive and scientifically justified import conditions. Our trading partners use the same scientific principles when assessing Australian commodities for importation.
We conducted a preliminary assessment of the pests associated with avocados from Chile and found that the potential pests of quarantine concern are Mediterranean fruit fly, scale insects, a mealybug, thrips and mites. These potential quarantine pests are the same, or of the same pest groups, as those associated with other horticultural commodities that have been assessed in previous import policies, and for which risk management measures are established.
Based on the preliminary assessment, the pests associated with avocados from Chile are not expected to require different risk management measures to those of other horticultural commodities. As a result, we are conducting this risk analysis as a review of biosecurity import requirements (a non-regulated risk analysis).
Register as a stakeholder
The Biosecurity Plant Division uses the stakeholder register for distributing biosecurity risk analysis policy information to registered stakeholders. Stakeholders interested in receiving information and updates on biosecurity risk analyses are invited to subscribe via the department’s new 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
We undertake comprehensive risk assessments of pests and diseases and identify risk management options to address any risks of exotic pests and diseases. 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 to the lowest possible level.
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 a good 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 Organisation 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
The recommendations in the final report are an administrative step and reflect the completion of the risk analysis. Before imports can commence we will:
- verify that a country can action the recommended risk management measures
- publish import conditions on the Biosecurity Import Conditions System (BICON), and
- issue import permits for trade to commence.
The decision to import agricultural produce to Australia is a commercial decision between an importer in Australia and a supplier in the exporting country who can meet the import conditions.
For more information, stakeholders can email
plant stakeholders or phone +61 2 6272 5094.