5 June 2023
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This Animal Biosecurity Advice notifies stakeholders of the release of the final report for the Review of the biosecurity risks of prawns imported from all countries for human consumption (the prawn review) on our website. The final report outlines the proposed changes to Australia’s import conditions for prawns and prawn products and provides the risk assessments which underpin the proposed measures.
We have published the final report for the prawn review after considering the recommendations from the members of the scientific advisory group (SAG) on the draft report and provisional final report, as well as all stakeholder feedback and all available scientific information.
The final report proposes that prawns and prawn products continue to be permitted import into Australia, subject to compliance with a range of biosecurity measures. These measures include freezing, freedom from additional pathogenic agents for whole uncooked prawns exported to Australia, and a strengthening of requirements for cooked prawns. The proposed changes to Australia’s import conditions for prawns and prawn products from all countries will apply from 13 October 2023.
The department invites your comments on the proposed import conditions by 4 August 2023. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to submit your feedback.
On 28 September 2020 the department issued Biosecurity Advice 2020-A05 inviting comments on the draft report for the prawn review. The department carefully considered all submissions when preparing the final report. Additionally, after the draft report was released, the department considered the following in the preparation of the final report:
- the outcomes of the 2019–20 National recreational fishing survey - prawn use by recreational fishers for bait and berley,
- the outcomes of research commissioned by the department and conducted by the University of Arizona (United States) investigating the effect of freezing on Enterocytozoon hepatopenaei infectivity and determining the minimum core temperature required to inactivate white spot syndrome virus and yellow head virus genotype 1,
- all other new information.
The prawn review was subject to rigorous scientific review. This included peer review of the draft report by leading experts on crustacean diseases and the review of the draft and provisional final reports by the members of the SAG. The reports from the members of the SAG are available on the department’s website.
The department has now finalised the review. The final report includes the proposed import conditions to manage the biosecurity risks associated with the importation of prawns and prawn products from all countries. The final report does not recommend a reduction in biosecurity measures for imported prawns. Pre-export and on-arrival testing for white spot syndrome virus and yellow head virus genotype 1 in frozen, uncooked, de-headed, de-shelled and deveined prawns is still considered necessary. Import requirements for breaded, battered and crumbed prawns and highly processed prawn products have also not changed. The proposed changes to the import conditions for prawns and prawn products exported to Australia for human consumption include that:
- All prawns and prawn products must be frozen.
- All cooked prawns and prawn products must be frozen, appear fully cooked and have achieved a minimum core temperature of 65°C during the cooking process.
- Access to Australia for whole, uncooked (frozen) prawns will only be permitted for countries, compartments or zones which Australia recognises, through an official assessment, as being free from the following pathogenic agents:
- “Candidatus Hepatobacter penaei” (only if the product is chilled)
- covert mortality nodavirus
- decapod iridescent virus 1
- Enterocytozoon hepatopenaei
- infectious myonecrosis virus
- Laem-Singh virus
- Taura syndrome virus
- Vibrio parahaemolyticus strains containing Pir toxins
- white spot syndrome virus
- yellow head virus genotype 1.
Australia has issued a Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Notification to the World Trade Organization (WTO) SPS Committee to inform its trading partners of the release of the final report for the prawn review and of the proposed import conditions for prawns and prawn products, including a link to Australia’s model health certificate with proposed updated wording.
Pending consideration of comments received during the 60-day consultation period, the department will require that prawns and prawn products arriving in Australia from 13 October 2023 must be certified by the competent authority of the exporting country to meet these changed import conditions. Australia’s trading partners will need to provide a revised health certificate to the department for approval. Trading partners are encouraged to implement required certification changes in a timely manner to prevent disruptions to trade. A further Animal Biosecurity Advice will be issued following the consultation period to confirm the date of implementation and the import conditions. Once the import conditions are finalised and implemented, only consignments of prawns and prawn products that are verified to comply with these conditions will be released from biosecurity control.
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Confidentiality: Subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 and the Privacy Act 1988, content of submissions may be made public, unless you state you want all or part of your submission to be treated as confidential. A claim for confidentiality must be justified and provided as an attachment, marked ‘Confidential’. ‘Confidential’ material will not be made public. The department reserves the right not to publish submissions. No breach of confidence will occur if the department shares your submission with a third party referred to under ‘Privacy’ in seeking advice in response to your submission.
Intellectual property: Responsibility for compliance with Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in submissions rests with the author(s). In lodging a submission, you warrant you have not knowingly infringed any third party IPR. By lodging a submission, you grant the Commonwealth a permanent, irrevocable, royalty-free, world-wide, non-exclusive licence to use, copy, reproduce, adapt, communicate and exploit all or any of the material contained in the submission.
Dr Peter Finnin
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry