Biosecurity Advice 2013/21 - Final review of policy: Importation of potato (Solanum tuberosum) propagative material into Australia

​27 August 2013

This Biosecurity Advice (BA) notifies stakeholders of the release of the ‘Final review of policy: Importation of potato (Solanum tuberosum) propagative material into Australia, on 27 August 2013.

Background

DAFF initiated this review as new pathogens have been identified on potatoes and several pathogens have extended their global range. DAFF regularly reviews existing policies to import propagative material of various commodities to safeguard Australian agricultural industries from exotic pests.

DAFF has been working to improve the speed with which imports can be achieved to provide industry with access to improved overseas varieties. In this context, DAFF has recommended a framework to approve overseas sources to supply pathogen tested potato propagative material. In addition, DAFF has recommended the approval of Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA), UK as a source for high-health potato propagative material as it meets the criteria of the framework for accreditation of overseas sources.

The draft policy review was released on 20 April 2012 for a 30 day consultation period (BA 2012/09). However, on request of stakeholders the consultation period was extended for another 30 days. All comments received were carefully considered in finalisation of the policy.

Recommended measures

The existing conditions are further strengthened through the introduction of additional diagnostic measures to protect Australia from exotic pests.

All sources (unknown health status)

Tissue cultures (microplantlets)

  • Mandatory on-arrival inspection and growth in a closed government post-entry quarantine (PEQ) facility for a minimum period of six months for visual observation; and
  • active pathogen testing through herbaceous indexing and molecular tests, including but not limited to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).

True potato seed

  • Mandatory on-arrival inspection, fungicidal treatment, surface sterilisation and growth in a closed government PEQ facility for a minimum period of six months for visual observation; and
  • active pathogen testing through molecular tests, including but not limited to PCR.

Microtubers or minitubers (produced in a protected environment)

  • Certification that microtubers or minitubers are produced in soilless media and tested free of nematodes of quarantine concern to Australia;
  • mandatory on-arrival inspection, growth in a closed government PEQ facility for a minimum period of six months for visual observation; and
  • active pathogen testing through herbaceous indexing and molecular tests including but not limited to PCR or ELISA.

Approval of Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA)

Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) has been approved to supply pathogen tested potato propagative material as it meets the criteria of the framework for accreditation of overseas sources. The recommended conditions to import pathogen tested potato propagative material from SASA requires:

  • A phytosanitary certificate issued by the Scottish Government on behalf of the National Plant Protection Organisation, Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) with an additional declaration that ‘potato propagative material in this consignment has been tested and found free of pests identified by Australia’;
  • On-arrival mandatory verification inspection and growth in a closed government PEQ facility for a minimum of three months to verify the application of phytosanitary measures, including verification testing for a range of pathogens. If pathogens of quarantine concern are detected during verification tests, the whole consignment will be subject to the same conditions as potato propagative material from all sources.

Please pass this notice to other interested parties. If those parties wish to be included in future communications on this matter they should contact Plant Biosecurity.