14 May 2020
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This Animal Biosecurity Advice notifies stakeholders of the new conditions for uncooked prawns and prawn products imported into Australia for human consumption. All uncooked prawns imported into Australia on or after 1 July 2020 must comply with the new conditions.
The new uncooked prawn import conditions are outlined in the attached Biosecurity requirements for the importation of prawns and prawn products for human consumption (Attachment A – section 2.1). The interim conditions considered all stakeholder comments received in response to Animal Biosecurity Advice 2020-A02.
Australia’s model health certificate for prawns and prawn meat for human consumption (Attachment B) has been finalised. The updated certificate includes the statement ‘The uncooked prawns have been deveined (removal of the digestive tract to at least the last shell segment)’ (section 7.1).
Australia’s trading partners and existing permit holders will be contacted by the department regarding implementation of the new conditions.The changes to uncooked prawn import conditions do not apply to cooked, highly-processed, breaded, battered and crumbed (BBC) or Australian-origin prawns processed through the department-approved Thai Union facility.
The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has determined that interim import conditions for uncooked prawns are required to manage the biosecurity risks associated with Enterocytozoon hepatopenaei (EHP). Australia’s current import conditions for uncooked prawns (including freezing and head and shell removal) do not manage biosecurity risk for EHP to a level that meets Australia’s appropriate level of protection. Deveining is considered the most effective and practically implementable interim measure for reducing the load of viable EHP spores in infected prawns.
In response to the release of Animal Biosecurity Advice 2020-A02 Proposed interim import conditions for uncooked prawns and prawn products imported for human consumption into Australia, the department received comments from 7 stakeholders during the 60-day comment period. These comments were considered when finalising the interim uncooked prawn import conditions.
Uncooked prawns arriving in Australia on or after 1 July 2020 must be certified by the competent authority to have undergone a deveining step during processing. Uncooked prawns will continue to be subject to 100% seals intact inspection on-arrival in Australia.
If uncooked prawns do not meet the new interim import conditions they will be directed for re-export, disposal or treatment (e.g. cooking).
The new import conditions for prawns and prawn products will remain in place in the interim, while Australia undertakes the Review of the biosecurity risks and import conditions for prawns and prawn products imported for human consumption as announced by Australia’s Director of Biosecurity on 16 May 2017 (Biosecurity Advice 2017/07). Further information on the review can be found at agriculture.gov.au/biosecurity/risk-analysis/animal/prawns-products-human-consumption. The department anticipates the draft report will be available for comment in mid-2020.
Australia has also issued a Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Notification to the World Trade Organization (WTO) SPS Committee to inform its trading partners of the interim import conditions for uncooked prawns.
This Animal Biosecurity Advice is available via the department’s website at agriculture.gov.au/biosecurity/risk-analysis/memos. Please pass this notice to other interested parties.
Further information on importing prawns for human consumption is available on the department’s website at agriculture.gov.au/import/goods.
The department’s prawn import policy team is the first point of contact and can be contacted at Prawnreview@aff.gov.au.
Dr Beth Cookson
Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
GPO Box 858
CANBERRA ACT 2601