Industry Advice Notice no. 2005/37: Management of Soil Contamination in Grains and Plant Products

​Date Issued: 23 December 2005

This Industry Advice Notice is to provide a notice to industry regarding procedures for dealing with detection of soil contamination in grains and certain plant products (grains, seeds, stockfeeds and other flowable commodities) presented for export as prescribed goods. 

The Grain Export Program, AQIS, has developed operational guidelines to reflect procedures for dealing with soil contamination in certain export commodities. These procedures align to international certification standards, importing country authority requirements and expectations, and reflect AQIS certification requirements. 

In international plant health and quarantine arenas, soil (including individual elements of soil – such as sand, silt and/or clay) is generally considered to present a significant risk to importing country quarantine integrity through being a widely acknowledged carrier of a range of pests, diseases and weed seeds affecting plants, animals and in some cases humans. Most importing country authorities prohibit the importation of soil, either directly as a primary commodity or as a contaminant, for these reasons. It is important to note that it is very rare for an importing country authority to provide official exemptions to the prohibition of soil, or provide tolerances. 

The soil management procedures document was presented to the AQIS Grains Industry Consultative Committee (AGICC) on 15 December 2005.

As these procedures reflect current AQIS certification processes, AQIS staff and inspectors approved under an Approved Arrangement are to ensure immediate implementation of the procedures. The contents of this document for managing soil contamination should not represent any change in day-to-day inspection and certification operations. 

It should also be noted that soil contamination may be only one of many issues to be addressed and AQIS certification for export will only be provided where the commodity complies with all importing country authority conditions and restrictions, export legislation and AQIS certification requirements.

Relevant industry participants are encouraged to obtain a copy of the soil contamination document through their local regional AQIS office to ensure they are aware of these processes for managing soil contamination. 

Mike Gilbert
Program Manager
AQIS Grain Export Program

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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