53-2017 – Review of prawns and prawn products and update on temporary suspension of uncooked prawns and uncooked prawn products

​​​16 May 2017

Who does this notice affect?

This notice is of interest to importers of (certain/specific) uncooked prawns and uncooked prawn meat products and associated industry participants and retailers.

What has changed?

The department has today announced a review of the biosecurity risk of, and the import conditions for, cooked and uncooked prawns and prawn products from all countries.

This review will consider the biosecurity risk associated with the importation of these products from all countries and recommend import conditions to manage these risks. Further information is available through Biosecurity Advice Notice (2017/07).​ Stakeholders will be invited to comment on the draft report.

In addition the Director of Biosecurity has varied the Biosecurity (Suspended Goods – Uncooked Prawns) Determination 2017 to exclude the goods list below in the Biosecurity (Suspended Goods – Uncooked Prawns) Amendment (Exceptions) Determination (No.4) 2017 (Amendment Determination No.4), under subsection 182 (1) of the Biosecurity Act 2015 (Act).

  • Uncooked prawns and uncooked prawn meat that is marinated for human consumption (uncooked marinated prawns) are exempt from the suspension.

For importers that hold existing import permits for marinated product that were affected by the suspension:

  • These import permits will remain suspended until further notice. The department will vary these import permits to include new import conditions on a country by country basis, only after it has received assurance that the competent authorities in exporting countries can comply with the import conditions. The department will contact import permit holders individually when it is ready to vary relevant import permits.

For importers wishing to apply for new import permits for marinated product:

  • The department will only accept import permit applications after it has received assurance that the competent authorities in exporting countries can comply with import conditions. Further industry advice notices and BICON alerts will be provided when the department is ready to accept applications from specific exporting countries.

The exemption was enacted following a review of the biosecurity risks associated with uncooked marinated prawns, which concluded that White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV) risk for this pathway falls within Australia’s appropriate level of protection subject to a number of risk management measures being met.

This exemption does not apply to uncooked marinated prawns currently held under biosecurity control including at cold stores and at Approved Arrangement sites. Prawns that test positive for WSSV must be either exported, disposed of, or cooked.​​

Risk management measures proposed by the department include:

  • certification by the overseas authority that all batches of uncooked marinated prawns are free of WSSV and Yellow Head Virus (YHV) based on recognised World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) measures to confirm freedom from disease
  • an appropriate level of on-arrival testing for WSSV and YHV.

In addition to these risk management measures, uncooked marinated prawns are also required to comply with existing biosecurity risk management measures for marinated product, including being clearly labelled for human consumption only and compliant with Australia’s product definition for marinated prawns.

The Amendment Determination No. 4 is a result of the department’s ongoing work to resume the safe trade in uncooked prawns and prawn products as soon as possible. Previous exemptions that have been made since the temporary suspension of uncooked prawns and uncooked prawn products include:

  • uncooked Australian wild-caught prawns exported overseas for processing, and re-exported to Australia (other than uncooked Australian wild-caught prawns exported to Thailand for processing in a facility approved by Thailand’s Department of Fisheries, and re-exported to Australia);
  • prawns sourced from Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone;
  • imported bait for aquatic use, pet fish food and aquaculture feeds which contain uncooked prawns and prawn meat;
  • dried prawns and shelf-stable prawn-based food products;
  • uncooked prawns and uncooked prawn meat sourced from Australian territory other than the area to which the white spot syndrome virus Movement Control Order relates;
  • uncooked Australian wild-caught prawns exported to Thailand for processing in a facility approved by Thailand’s Department of Fisheries, and re-exported to Australia; and
  • uncooked prawns and uncooked prawn meat (1) intended to be transhipped goods for outgoing passenger vessels engaged in international travels; (2) intended for use as laboratory or food samples for analysis.

Further information

Further information on Amendment Determination No. 4 can be accessed on the Federal Register of Legislation.

Further information on the review of prawns and prawn products is available through Biosecurity Advice Notice (2017/07).

Contact information

If you require further information please call 1800 900 090 or email Imports.

Biosecurity import conditions are available on the department’s Biosecurity Import Conditions database (BICON).

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