Pepino mosaic virus and pospiviroids in tomato seed

​Pest risk analysis for Pepino mosaic virus and pospiviroids associated with tomato seed

We are conducting a pest risk analysis for Pepino mosaic virus and pospiviroids associated with tomato seed.

We will conduct the pest risk analysis in three key steps:

  1. Announce the pest risk analysis on 22 March 2018 via Biosecurity Advice 2018-04, and conduct a review of relevant scientific knowledge.
  2. Release the draft report on 8 August 2018 via Biosecurity Advice 2018-19 for a 60 day consultation period, closing on 8 October 2018.
  3. Release the final report in 2019, following consideration of stakeholder comments.

A summary of the review background and process is available in the fact​​​sheet.

Make a submission

We invite you to submit written comments on the draft report during the 60 calendar day consultation period. Your feedback will be considered in preparing the final report.

The public consultation period closed on 8 October 2018.

Draft report - Summary

This draft report considers the biosecurity risk that may be associated with the importation of tomato seed, for commercial planting in Australia. The draft report proposes risk management measures to reduce the risk of introduction of quarantine pests and to achieve the appropriate level of protection (ALOP) for Australia.

The draft pest risk analysis assesses the risks presented by Pepino mosaic virus and pospiviroids when these plant pathogens are carried by internationally traded tomato seed, and proposes phytosanitary measures to substantially reduce the risks for Australia.

The importation of tomato seed and wild tomato seed is currently subject to emergency measures to manage the risks presented by Pepino mosaic virus and certain viroids (pospiviroids). Australia introduced the emergency measures in June 2008 and revised the measures in February, May and December 2012 and August 2013.

This pest risk analysis was initiated to assess the risks, evaluate the emergency measures, consider ongoing phytosanitary measures and ensure any ongoing measures are technically justified.  The pest risk analysis presented in this draft report meets Australia’s international obligations to review the emergency phytosanitary measures on Pepino mosaic virus and the pospiviroids associated with tomato seed.

The pest risk analysis is being undertaken as a review of biosecurity import requirements (non-regulated risk analysis).

Summary of pest risk analysis and proposed measures

The draft report presents pest risk assessments for Pepino mosaic virus, Columnea latent viroid, Pepper chat fruit viroid, Tomato apical stunt viroid, Tomato chlorotic dwarf viroid and Tomato planta macho viroid (the listed pathogens), but not for Potato spindle tuber viroid, as it is no longer categorised as a quarantine pest for Australia. The pest risk analysis considers imports of seed of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) and wild tomato (Solanum chilense, S. chmielewskii, S. parviflorum, S. peruvianum and S. pimpinellifolium). Information is presented about tomato seed production and trade, the epidemiology of the pathogens and Australian testing of seed imports for the pathogens.

The draft report proposes a range of risk management measures that target the listed pathogens. The proposed measures include mandatory laboratory testing for the listed pathogens or mandatory laboratory testing combined with a dry heat treatment. These proposed measures will be combined with operational systems and verification of laboratory testing. Together the measures will mitigate the risks posed by the listed pathogens when they are associated with imports of tomato seed and will reduce the risks to achieve the appropriate level of protection for Australia. The proposed measures are largely consistent with the emergency measures, but include some amendments. The emergency measures will remain in place until the proposed measures are implemented, which is expected during 2019, depending on the finalisation of this report.

The emergency measures on tomato seed for Potato spindle tuber viroid, under which seed sent to Australia is tested for the viroid, will continue while the department examines the status and regulation of the viroid.

Download the draft report

Document Pages File size
Draft pest risk analysis for Pepino mosaic virus and pospiviroids associated with tomato seed PDF 129 2.6 MB
Draft pest risk analysis for Pepino mosaic virus and pospiviroids associated with tomato seed DOCX 129 1.7 MB

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

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 the department’s online subscription serviceBy 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 lucky to be free from many of the world’s most damaging plant pests. Exotic plant pests are capable of damaging our natural environment, destroying our food production and agriculture industries, and some could change 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 analysis.

Contact information

For more information, stakeholders can email imports or phone +61 2 6272 5094.

Last reviewed: 30 September 2020
Thanks for your feedback.
Thanks! Your feedback has been submitted.

We aren't able to respond to your individual comments or questions.
To contact us directly phone us or submit an online inquiry

Please verify that you are not a robot.