Final risk analysis for the review of biosecurity import requirements for fresh dragon fruit (Hylocereus spp.) from Indonesia

​​​We conducted a risk analysis for fresh dragon fruit (Hylocereus spp.) from Indonesia.

We conducted the risk analysis in three key steps:

  1. Announced the commencement of the risk analysis on 14 Decemb​er 2017, via Biosecurity Advice 2017-28 and the Announcement Information Paper. We conducted a review of scientific knowledge relevant to the groups of pests associated with fresh dragon fruit from Indonesia.
  2. Released the draft report on 17 January 2018​, via Biosecurity Advice 2018-01 for a 60 calendar day consultation period.
  3. Released the final report on 21 August 2018, via Biosecurity Advice 2018-21​, following consideration of stakeholder comments submitted during the consultation period.

This risk analysis is funded through the Australian Government’s Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper to strengthen biosecurity surveillance and analysis.

Summary of the final report

The department prepared this report in response to a formal request from Indonesia for market access for fresh dragon fruit. The report assesses the biosecurity risk associated with importing fresh dragon fruit from Indonesia.

The final report recommends that the importation of fresh dragon fruit to Australia, from all commercial production areas of Indonesia, be permitted subject to a range of biosecurity requirements.

The final report identifies seven quarantine pests that require risk management measures. The pests are:

  • Melon fly (Bactrocera cucurbitae)
  • Oriental fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis)
  • Grey pineapple mealybug (Dysmicoccus neobrevipes)
  • Papaya mealybug (Paracoccus marginatus)
  • Coffee mealybug (Planococcus lilacinus)
  • Pacific mealybug (Planococcus minor)
  • Jack Beardsley mealybug (Pseudococcus jackbeardsleyi).

The Pacific mealybug (Planococcus minor) has been identified as a regional quarantine pest for Western Australia. Western Australia has established interstate quarantine regulations and enforcement in place for this pest.

The final report recommends a range of risk management measures, combined with operational systems, to reduce the risks posed by the seven quarantine pests and achieve the appropriate level of protection for Australia. These measures include:

  •     area freedom, irradiation (subject to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) approval) or vapour heat treatment for fruit flies
  •     consignment freedom for mealybugs verified by visual inspection and, if detected, remedial action for mealybugs.

We received three submissions on the draft report. The changes we made to the report, based on the comments made in the submissions, include:

  • clarifying inspection requirements for pests and fruit quality before fruit is exported
  • clarifying the remedial treatment that is to be applied before fruit is exported, should mealybugs be detected on the fruit
  • confirming that a plant pathogen (f sp. Fusarium oxysporum) is not associated with the importation of fresh dragon fruit

Our response to technical comments raised in the submissions is included in the final report at Appendix B.


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Next steps

The final report reflects the completion of the risk analysis. Before imports can commence we will:

  • verify that a country can action the recommended risk management measures
  • publish import conditions on the Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON)
  • issue import permits for trade to commence.

The decision to import dragon fruit into Australia is a commercial decision between an importer in Australia and a supplier in Indonesia who can meet the import conditions.

General information

Register as a stakeholder

We use the stakeholder register for distributing biosecurity risk analysis policy information to registered stakeholders. Stakeholders interested in receiving information and updates on biosecurity risk analyses are invited to subscribe via our online subscription service By subscribing to Biosecurity Risk Analysis Plant, you will receive Biosecurity Advices and other notifications relating to plant biosecurity policy.

Protecting Australia from exotic pests

Australia is free from many of the world’s most damaging plant pests, which are capable of damaging our natural environment, destroying our food production and agriculture industries, and changing our way of life. Australia’s biosecurity system, which includes the risk assessment process, helps protect us from exotic plant pests.

We undertake risk assessments of pests and identify risk management options to address any risks posed by these exotic pests. These measures reflect Australia’s overall approach to the management of biosecurity risk.

Zero risk is impossible. Aiming for zero risk would mean no tourists, no international travel and no imports of any commodities. Australia invests heavily in biosecurity to ensure risks are managed.

Australia exports almost two-thirds of its agricultural produce. The future of our agricultural and food industries, including their capacity to contribute to growth and jobs, depends on Australia’s capacity to maintain its animal and plant health status.

Australia accepts imports only when we are confident the risks of pests and diseases can be managed to achieve an appropriate level of protection for Australia.

International obligations

All World Trade Organization (WTO) members are signatories to the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (the SPS Agreement), under which they have both rights and obligations.

The basic obligations of the SPS Agreement are that SPS measures must:

  • be based on a risk assessment appropriate to the circumstances or drawn from standards developed by the World Organisation for Animal Health and the International Plant Protection Convention
  • only be applied to the extent necessary to protect human, animal or plant life or health
  • be based on science
  • not arbitrarily or unjustifiably discriminate between WTO members, or be a disguised restriction on trade.

Under the SPS Agreement, each WTO Member is entitled to maintain a level of protection it considers appropriate to protect human, animal or plant life or health within its territory – in other words, its appropriate level of protection.

Appropriate level of protection

The appropriate level of protection (ALOP) for Australia is defined in the Biosecurity Act 2015 as ‘a high level of sanitary and phytosanitary protection aimed at reducing biosecurity risks to very low, but not to zero’. This definition was agreed with all our state and territory governments and recognises that a zero-risk stance is impractical.

The ALOP is a broad objective, and risk management measures are established to achieve that objective.

Read more about Australia’s ALOP

Biosecurity risk

The term ‘biosecurity risk’ is used to describe the combination of the likelihood and the consequences of a pest or disease of biosecurity concern entering, establishing and spreading in Australia.

Australia's biosecurity system protects our unique environment and agricultural sector and supports our reputation as a safe and reliable trading nation. This has significant economic, environmental and community benefits for all Australians.

New scientific information

Scientific information can be provided to us at any time, even after a risk analysis has been completed. We will consider the information provided and review the import policy, if required.

Meeting Australia’s food standards

Imported food for human consumption must satisfy Australia’s food standards. Australian law requires that all food, including imported fresh fruit, meets the standards set out in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code and the requirements of the Imported Food Control Act 1992. Each state and territory also has its own food laws that must be met.

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) is responsible for developing and maintaining the Food Standards Code. The standards apply to all food in Australia, irrespective of whether it is grown domestically or imported.

Contact information

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

Last reviewed: 30 September 2020
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