2018-41 - Horticulture Exports Program – Interim control measures for the export of fresh strawberries from Australia

​​18 September 2018

Purpose

This Industry Advice Notice (IAN) is to advise stakeholders of interim control measures for the export of fresh strawberries from Australia to all importing countries.

Summary of changes and key points

  • The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is implementing interim control measures for the export of fresh strawberries from Australia, in response to reported detections of metal contaminants in the fruit.
  • From 9am AEST on Wednesday, 19 September 2018, a nil tolerance of metal contaminants in fresh strawberries will be enforced by the department to mitigate the risk of metal contaminants entering the export supply chain.
  • The new interim measure applies to fresh strawberries for all export markets, including markets that do not require a phytosanitary certificate.
  • All requests for export permits (RFPs) that include fresh strawberries now require authorisation by the department through EXDOC.
  • Exporters are responsible for providing evidence to the department, that consignments are free from metal contaminants.
  • Interim control measures can include evidence of metal screening (metal detectors/x-ray) at end-point or on-farm metal screening where product security has been maintained post screening.
  • Visual inspection alone is not an acceptable measure.
  • Records are required to be kept by the exporter for auditing purposes for 2 years.
  • The Manual of Importing Country Requirements (MICoR) cases will be updated to reflect these changes. There is no change to existing importing country requirements.
  • The department’s role is to facilitate safe trade of agricultural commodities.
  • The associated food safety incidents in Australia are being managed by state and territory law enforcement and health authorities.

Background

  • Over the past week, there have been a number of detections of metal contaminants in fresh strawberries.
  • At this time, the source and cause of the contaminants are unknown.
  • The department is working closely with industry and state and territory government authorities on this matter.

Exporter Responsibilities

  • All RFPs that include fresh strawberries now require authorisation by the department through EXDOC, this includes non-phytosanitary certificate markets.
  • For consignments of fresh strawberries being exported to non-phytosanitary certificate markets: Singapore (SG), Hong Kong (HK) and Maldives (MV), a new EXDOC Product Code for fresh strawberries “SIE” has been created.
  • The EXDOC Product Code, “STW”, for all other markets is unchanged.
  • When requesting RFP authorisation from the department, exporters must provide evidence that the consignment is free from metal contaminants.

Contact information

If you have any questions regarding this IAN please email Horticulture Exports Program.

David Ironside
Assistant Secretary
Plant Export Operations Branch

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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