Offshore phosphine treatment providers

Check the Biosecurity Import Conditions (BICON) system, and your Import Permit conditions (if relevant) to determine all import requirements prior to importing, and to confirm that offshore phosphine treatment is an acceptable treatment option for your commodity.

Phosphine is used throughout the world to control insects in grains, seeds, flour, plant products and prepared foods. It is used as a fumigant for seeds as it is not reported to adversely affect the germination of the seeds.

Milled and oily commodities such as flour, soybean meal, fish meal, nuts and oilseeds are often fumigated with phosphine because this treatment is less likely to generate undesirable residues. Phosphine is also often used to treat tobacco, as the process does not result in the formation of any taints.

The department does not generally recognise phosphine as a biosecurity fumigant for timber or timber articles because of concerns over its ability to penetrate these materials sufficiently. There is an exception for timber packing used in the importation of raw tobacco.

The use of phosphine as a fumigant is limited by the long exposure time necessary to kill all stages of insects, the resistance of certain insect pests, and poor efficacy at temperatures below 15°C. Another limitation is that phosphine reacts with copper, and should not be used to fumigate electronic and electrical equipment such as motors, switches and fire alarms.

Where phosphine is a department approved treatment for particular commodities, the department accepts certification from all offshore phosphine treatment providers in all countries.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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