Brassicaceous vegetable seeds

Review of import conditions for brassicaceous vegetable seeds for sowing

We have completed a review of import conditions for brassicaceous vegetable seeds for sowing.

When we conduct a review of import conditions, we:

  • review the science on pests of concern
  • assess and analyse biosecurity risks
  • develop risk management measures, if required
  • consult the public on the draft report and then review comments
  • publish the final report
  • publish import conditions in our Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON)

About the review

Australia relies on imported seeds to produce a wide range of crops, including vegetables. Large quantities of these seeds are imported annually.

The distribution of pathogens (which cause disease) associated with seed is expanding across the world and new biosecurity risks continue to emerge. The trade in vegetable seeds has become globalised with seed being commercially developed, multiplied and processed across various countries instead of within a single country. Therefore, the risk of seeds being exposed to new pathogens, as well as the risk that these pathogens may enter Australia via imported seeds, has increased.

The increased biosecurity risk associated with imported seed prompted us to review the import conditions for vegetable seeds that are imported for sowing.

We initiated a review of four vegetable seed policies, which was funded under the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper. The four vegetable families being reviewed are: Apiaceae (e.g. carrot, celery and parsnip), Brassicaceae (e.g. broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower), Cucurbitaceae (e.g. cucumber, melon, pumpkin) and Solanaceae (e.g. capsicum, eggplant and tomato).

The review of brassicaceous vegetable seeds is the first of the four vegetable families to be finalised.

Brassicaceous vegetable crops include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, mustard, radish, rocket, turnip, wasabi, and watercress.

Final report

Summary of the final report

Seeds of most brassicaceous vegetable species are not hosts of pathogens that are of biosecurity concern to Australia and therefore, do not require additional biosecurity measures. Instead, these species will continue to be subject to the department’s standard import conditions for seeds for sowing.

Seeds of some brassicaceous vegetable species are hosts to pathogens that are of biosecurity concern and therefore, imported seeds of these species require additional biosecurity measures to manage the risk:

Vegetable species Biosecurity measures
Fungicide1Heat2Testing3Heat + Testing4
Brassica rapa (e.g. turnips and bok choy)   
Raphanus sativus (e.g. radish)   
Eruca vesicaria (e.g. rocket)   

1. fungicide treatment to manage Colletotrichum higginsianum and Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. raphani 
2. heat treatment to manage Colletotrichum higginsianum only
3. seed testing to detect the presence of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. raphani (using a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test) to help manage the risk
4. a combination of heat treatment and PCR testing to manage Colletotrichum higginsianum and Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. raphani.

Seeds, of the three vegetable species mentioned above, are exempt from the additional biosecurity measures if:

  • the seeds are intended for producing sprouts or micro-greens for human consumption, and
  • the seeds are germinated in an Approved Arrangement facility to ensure the seeds are not directed for other uses.

If the additional biosecurity measures are undertaken in the exporting country, imported seed must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate declaring that the biosecurity measure was conducted in accordance with Australia’s requirements.

Your feedback on the draft report

Appendix 2 of the final report provides a summary of key technical comments raised by stakeholders and how they were considered.

Appendix 3 of the final report provides details of how we considered the alternative management options proposed by stakeholders.

A number of changes were made to the risk analysis following comments submitted by stakeholders and a review of scientific literature. These changes include:

  • The inclusion of other pest risk management options (heat treatment and PCR testing) that are suitable for both organic and non-organic (seed) industries.
  • The removal of measures previously proposed for Brassica oleracea (includes broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower) due to insufficient evidence of it being a possible host for the pathogen Colletotrichum higginsianum.

Download submissions on the draft report

Available until September 2020.

DocumentPagesFile size
Alfalfa House PDF2117 KB
Australian Organic Ltd PDF7898 KB
Australian Seed Federation PDF6316 KB
AUSVEG PDF5540 KB
Canberra Seed Savers PDF3153 KB
Government of WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development PDF18609 KB
Organic Industries of Australia PDF61.9 MB
Permaculture Australia PDF1133 KB
Phil Crooker PDF175 KB
Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries PDF21.2 MB
Rochelle Macredie PDF281 KB
Walter Steensby PDF2137 KB

Published submissions may not meet Australian Government accessibility requirements as they have not been prepared by us. If you have difficulty accessing these files, contact us for help.

Download the final report

DocumentPagesFile size
Final review of import conditions for brassicaceous vegetable seeds for sowing PDF1783.1 MB
Final review of import conditions for brassicaceous vegetable seeds for sowing DOCX 1781.3 MB

If you have difficulty accessing this file, visit web accessibility for assistance.

Draft report

We released the draft report of the review of brassicaceous vegetable seeds for sowing on 14 February 2018, for a 60 calendar day public consultation period, which closed on 19 April 2018.

Download draft report

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, February 2018.

Available until September 2020.

DocumentPagesFile size
Draft review of import conditions for brassicaceous crop seeds for sowing into Australia PDF1452.7 MB
Draft review of import conditions for brassicaceous crop seeds for sowing into Australia DOCX1451.8 MB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit web accessibility for assistance.

Trade

Brassicaceous vegetable industry

Australian producers rely on the overseas supply of seeds for brassicaceous vegetable production. In 2017–18, Australia’s production of main brassicaceous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower) was valued at $337.1 million.

The gross value of production figures for brassicaceous vegetables for 2017–2018 are:

  • Broccoli—$229.8 million
  • Brussels sprouts—$18.3 million
  • Cabbage—$41.6 million
  • Cauliflower—$47.4 million

The gross value of Australian horticultural agriculture was $13.2 billion in 2017-2018, with vegetables accounting for $4.3 billion.
The value of fresh vegetable exports in 2017-2018 was $255.2 million.

Source: Horticulture Innovation Australia—Australia Horticulture Statistics Handbook (2017–18).

Next steps

The next step is to revise the import conditions in the Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON).

Keep informed

Register as a stakeholder

Subscribe to the plant stakeholder register to receive notices about plant biosecurity policies.

Subscribe to BICON to receive alerts when this case is published.

Contact us

For more information, email imports or phone 1800 900 090 (option 1, option 1).


Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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