Biosecurity Advice 2017-26 - Final group pest risk analysis for Thrips and Orthotospoviruses on fresh fruit, vegetable, cut-flower and foliage imports

​30 November 2017

​​​This Biosecurity Advice notifies stakeholders of the release of the Final group pest risk analysis for thrips and orthotospoviruses on fresh fruit, vegetable, cut flower and foliage imports.

The final group pest risk analysis identifies 79 thrips species and 27 orthotospoviruses as pests of quarantine concern and identifies measures for use in specific cases where measures are required. It also recommends that the regulatory status of three thrips species – Frankliniella schultzei, Scirtothrips dorsalis and Thrips tabaci – known to be present in Australia, be changed from non-regulated to regulated, because these thrips can carry and transmit quarantine pest orthotospoviruses.

The final group pest risk analysis takes into account submissions and comments received from stakeholders on the draft group pest risk analysis, released on 14 December 2016.

The department is improving the effectiveness and consistency of the pest risk analysis (PRA) process. A key step in this process is the development of the group PRA approach, which considers the biosecurity risk posed by groups of pests across numerous import pathways. It applies the significant body of available scientific knowledge, including pest interception data and previous PRAs to provide an overarching analysis of the risks posed by groups of pests.

The ‘Final group pest risk analysis for thrips and orthotospoviruses on fresh fruit, vegetable, cut flower and foliage imports’ is the first group PRA to be finalised and is funded under the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.

This group PRA does not address the risks posed by thrips or orthotospoviruses on nursery stock imports as these will be considered in a separate review. The department will consult with stakeholders if any changes are made to existing nursery-stock import conditions.

In the time since the draft group PRA was released on 14 December 2016 (Biosecurity Advice 2016/35), the genus tospovirus underwent taxonomic revision and was renamed Orthotospovirus. This revision was applied to the final group PRA.

This group PRA considers the biosecurity risk posed by all phytophagous (plant-feeding) members of the insect order Thysanoptera (commonly referred to as thrips) that are, or are likely to be, associated with fresh fruit, vegetables, cut flowers and foliage imported into Australia as commercial consignments. It also assesses the emerging risks posed by all members of the virus genus Orthotospovirus that are transmitted by some thrips.

Fourteen thrips species are known to naturally transmit orthotospoviruses. Eleven of these are considered to be pests of quarantine concern for Australia, with the remaining three – Frankliniella schultzei, Scirtothrips dorsalis and Thrips tabaci – being present in Australia and not under official control. Because the three thrips species have been found to carry and transmit quarantine orthotospoviruses this group PRA recommends that their regulatory status be changed from non-regulated to regulated.

Thrips, and the orthotospoviruses they transmit, can cause considerable economic consequences across a wide range of fruit, vegetable, legume and ornamental crops by reducing yield, quality and marketability. Orthotospoviruses are a significant emerging risk to Australia with many recent reports of new species with rapidly expanding host plant ranges, geographic distributions and thrips vectors.

Imported commodities will be regulated if they are infested with quarantine pest thrips or regulated thrips that transmit quarantine orthotospoviruses, to reduce the risk of establishment of these organisms in Australia. Regulation will be in accordance with the final group PRA and any other relevant commodity-based PRAs.

The final group PRA identifies measures for quarantine and regulated thrips, and alternative risk management options, that may be considered on a case-by-case basis when developing new import conditions for specific commodities, or when reviewing existing import conditions for commodities that are currently traded.

Where measures are required, they will include:

  • commodities to be free from quarantine and regulated thrips, and
  • verification, such as inspection, to provide assurance that Australia’s import conditions have been met and appropriate level of protection achieved.

Imported goods that are frequently found to be infested with thrips may be subject to mandatory treatment.

The final Group PRA and information about the risk analysis process are available from the department’s website. Printed copies of the report are available on request.

Dr Marion Healy
First Assistant Secretary
Biosecurity Plant Division

Contact: Peter Creaser
Telephone: +61 2 6272 5094
Email: Plant Stakeholders

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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