Biosecurity Fact Sheet: Apples from Pacific Northwest USA

Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, October 2020

The factsheet provides an overview of the risk analysis for apples from the Pacific Northwest states of the USA.

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Key points

We released the draft report for fresh apple fruit from Pacific Northwest states of the USA on 23 October 2020, following the announcement of the formal commencement of this risk analysis on 1 November 2018.

  • In the draft report, we propose that the importation of commercially produced apples from all areas of Pacific Northwest states of the USA (PNW-USA) be permitted provided they meet specific conditions.
  • Risk management measures, in combination with an operational system, are proposed to reduce the biosecurity risk of these imports to an acceptable level.
  • Stakeholders can submit comments on the draft report during a 90-calendar day public consultation period, closing 21 January 2021.

Summary of the draft report

What are the specific pests requiring management?

The draft report identifies 24 quarantine pests associated with apples from PNW-USA that require risk management measures to reduce the biosecurity risk to an acceptable level. These pests are:

  • fruit fly: apple maggot (Rhagoletis pomonella)
  • gall midge: apple leafcurling midge (Dasineura mali)
  • mite: flat scarlet mite (Cenopalpus pulcher)
  • thrips: eastern flower thrips (Frankliniella tritici) and western flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis)
  • mealybugs: apple mealybug (Phenacoccus aceris) and grape mealybug (Pseudococcus maritimus)
  • leafroller moths: European leafroller (Archips rosana), fruit tree leafroller (Archips argyrospila), large fruit tree tortrix (Archips podana), oblique-banded leafroller (Choristoneura rosaceana), orange tortrix (Argyrotaenia franciscana) and Pandemis leafroller (Pandemis pyrusana)
  • fruit moths: cherry fruitworm (Grapholita packardi), lesser appleworm (Grapholita prunivora) and codling moth (Cydia pomonella)
  • bacterium: fire blight (Erwinia amylovora)
  • fungi: apple blotch (Phyllosticta arbutifolia), European canker (Neonectria ditissima), Gymnosporangium rusts (Gymnosporangium clavipes, G. juniperi-virginianae and G. libocedri), speck rot (Phacidiopycnis washingtonensis) and Sphaeropsis rot (Sphaeropsis pyriputrescens).

What are the proposed management measures?

The proposed risk management measures will reduce the risks posed by the 24 identified quarantine pests in order to achieve the appropriate level of protection for Australia:

  • Area freedom (including pest free areas, pest free places of production or production sites) or an appropriate pre-export phytosanitary treatment approved by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment for apple maggot.
  • In-field controls and pre-export visual inspection and, if found, remedial action for apple leafcurling midge.
  • Pre-export visual inspection and, if found, remedial action for mites, mealybugs and thrips.
  • In-field controls, pre-export inspection with examination of cut fruit samples suspected to be infested and, if found, remedial action or an appropriate pre-export phytosanitary treatment (such as methyl bromide fumigation) approved by the department for leafroller moths.
  • Area freedom (including pest free areas, pest free places of production or production sites) or in-field controls, pre-export inspection, examination of cut fruit samples suspected to be infested and, if found, remedial action or an appropriate pre-export methyl bromide fumigation treatment for fruit moths.
  • In-field controls, fruit maturity testing, packing house sanitation and visual inspection for fire blight.
  • In-field controls, packing house sanitation and visual inspection for European canker.
  • Orchard control, surveillance and pre-export visual inspection for Gymnosporangium rusts.
  • Systems approach and visual inspection (post-cold storage) for fungal pathogens such as Sphaeropsis rot, speck rot and apple blotch.

Next steps

Once the consultation period closes, we will consider stakeholder comments and prepare the final report. Reponses to technical issues raised will be included in the final report. We expect to release the final report in 2021.

Before imports can commence, the department will verify that the USA can apply those risk mitigation measures recommended in the final report. Import conditions will then be published on the Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON). The decision to commence imports is a commercial decision between an importer in Australia and an exporter in the USA who can meet the import conditions.

Further information

Why did we conduct this risk analysis?

This risk analysis was conducted in response to formal market access request for apples from Pacific Northwest states of the USA. Australia (as a World Trade Organization member) must meet its international obligations by assessing market access requests. Where possible, we must develop import conditions that are scientifically justified and that do not restrict trade. Where the risk of the imports cannot be reduced to an acceptable level, we will not permit them. Our trading partners use the same principles when assessing Australia’s market access requests.

Do we currently import apples?

Currently Australia has import conditions in place for apples from New Zealand, China and Japan.

Will imported apples be safe to eat?

Yes, fresh products imported for human consumption into Australia must comply with the Food Standards Code. Information on imported foods can be found on the Food Standards Australia New Zealand website.

Keep informed

Further information on this risk analysis can be found on the department’s website or by contacting us. Subscribe to the plant stakeholder register to receive notices about plant biosecurity policies.

Last reviewed: 27 November 2020
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