Review of import conditions for brassicaceous crop seeds for sowing into Australia
We are conducting a review of import conditions for brassicaceous crop seeds for sowing into Australia. This review of import conditions for brassicaceous crop seeds is the third in a series of vegetable seed policy reviews, which includes Apiaceae (carrot, celery, parsnip etc.), Cucurbitaceae (cucumber, melon, pumpkin etc.) and Solanaceae (capsicum, eggplant, tomato etc.).
Most vegetable seeds are imported from all sources under our standard import conditions for seeds for sowing. Recent changes to the risk profile of brassicaceous 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:
- Conduct a review of scientific knowledge of seed-borne pathogens of concern, including conducting a risk analysis and developing proposed risk management measures.
- Release the draft review on 14 February 2018 for a 60 calendar day public consultation period. Stakeholder submissions are invited by 19 April 2018.
- Release the final review in 2018 following consideration of stakeholder submissions.
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 the 60 calendar day consultation period. Your feedback will be considered when we finalise the review.
Submissions close on
19 April 2018.
You can read the draft review and make a submission.
Have your say
This draft review evaluates the effectiveness of existing risk management measures for identified biosecurity risks, and proposes additional mandatory phytosanitary measures to reduce the risk of introduction of the identified quarantine pests to achieve the appropriate level of protection (ALOP) for Australia.
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Purpose of the review
Australia relies on the overseas supply of seeds for brassicaceous vegetable crop production. Seeds are imported from all sources in accordance with our standard requirements for the importation of seeds for sowing.
We are undertaking a review of these existing import conditions of vegetable seeds, including those for brassicaceous crops. The review is in response to:
- an increase in seed-borne pathogens being reported outside their known geographic 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 seed’s exposure to pathogens and the introduction of pathogens to new areas.
The review is being conducted as a review of import conditions (non-regulated risk analysis) to assess the biosecurity risks associated with seeds being imported into Australia.
Acknowledging the change in risk profile, the department is undertaking an extensive review of the existing import conditions for vegetable seeds including those for brassicaceous crops.
This review aims to:
- identify pathogens associated with seeds of highly traded brassicaceous crops
- evaluate the appropriateness of the existing risk management measures
- propose additional risk management measures where appropriate
Summary of review and proposed measures
This review identifies two seed-borne fungal pathogens associated with brassicaceous crop seeds that meet the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) criteria for a quarantine pest.
The identified quarantine pests are
Colletotrichum higginsianum and
Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. raphani.
The unrestricted risks of these quarantine pests do not achieve the appropriate level of protection (ALOP) for Australia; therefore, additional risk management measures are required.
We propose additional phytosanitary measures for seeds of
Brassica rapa, Eruca vesicaria and Raphanus sativus.
The proposed additional mandatory measures require:
- Mandatory fungicidal treatment (off-shore or on-shore) for seeds ofBrassica oleracea, Brassica rapa, Eruca
Raphanus sativus as specified in this review.
- Seed lots treated off-shore to be accompanied by an official government Phytosanitary Certificate endorsed with the additional declaration that the consignment has undergone mandatory treatment in accordance with Australian import conditions.
Not all the brassicaceous crop species reviewed were found to be affected by these pests of quarantine concern to Australia.
We propose that the seed of the following species do not require testing or treatment, and can continue to be imported under Australia’s standard seed for sowing import requirements:
Armoracia rusticana, Barbarea verna, Barbarea vulgaris, Brassica carinata, Brassica elongata, Brassica juncea, Brassica nigra, Crambe abyssinica, Crambe cordifolia, Crambe maritima, Crambe tatarica, Eutrema wasabi, Lepidium campestre, Lepidium meyenii, Lepidium perfoliatum, Lepidium ruderale, Lepidium sativum, Lepidium squamatum, Lepidium virginicum, Nasturtium microphyllum, Nasturtium officinale, Rorippa islandica, Rorippa palustris, Sinapis alba, Sinapis arvensis and Sinapis erucoides.
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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 us at any time, including after a risk analysis has been completed. We will consider the information provided and review the analysis.
For more information, stakeholders can email
plant stakeholders or phone +61 2 6272 5094.