173-2019 - Timeframes for revised import conditions for Brassica rapa, Raphanus sativus and Eruca vesicaria seed for sowing

31 October 2019

Who does this notice affect?

This notice is of interest to importers (and their customs brokers) of Brassica rapa, Raphanus sativus and Eruca vesicaria seed for sowing from all countries.

What will change and when?

As a result of a review of import conditions for Brassicaceous vegetable seeds for sowing, the Department of Agriculture (the department) will implement revised risk management measures for imported Brassica rapa, Raphanus sativus and Eruca vesicaria seed for sowing to manage the risk of fungal pathogens that are of biosecurity concern to Australia.

The revised risk management measures will be implemented using a phased approach:

  • Phase 1 of the risk management measures commences 5 December 2019.
  • Stakeholders will be kept updated in regards to the commencement date for Phase 2, once further details on seed testing for Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. raphani via polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is made available.

What will each Phase involve?

Phase 0: Transition phase

Consignments of Brassica rapa, Raphanus sativus and Eruca vesicaria seed for sowing that are shipped to Australia prior to 5 December 2019 will be permitted entry into Australian territory under existing conditions (i.e. mandatory treatment is not required).

  • Commercial documentation must be provided to the department to verify that the date of export was prior to 5 December 2019.
  • Consignments not meeting this requirement will be subject to Phase 1 conditions.

Phase 0 expires at midnight 4 December 2019 and will be replaced by Phase 1 conditions on 5 December 2019.

Phase 1: Introduction of mandatory treatment requirements

From 5 December 2019, the following conditions will take effect for Brassica rapa, Eruca vesicaria and Raphanus sativus seed for sowing:

  • For Brassica rapa, seed must be treated with one of the following options:
    • Treatment with a broad spectrum fungicide, such as Thiram®
    • Dry heat at 70°C for 90 minutes
    • Hot water at 53°C for 10 minutes
    • Hot water at 50°C for 20 minutes.
  • For Eruca vesicaria and Raphanus sativus, seed must be treated with a broad spectrum fungicide, such as Thiram® .

Treatments can occur either offshore prior to export to Australian territory, or on-arrival in Australian territory.
Phytosanitary certification will be required to attest to any offshore treatments applied to seed lots prior to export. Where phytosanitary certification is not presented or accepted, consignments are subject to onshore treatment at a Department-approved site that is able to perform the required treatment. 
Importers are reminded that limited Approved Arrangement sites are available to perform hot water and fungicide treatments in Australian territory. The importer is responsible for:

  • contacting relevant sites to confirm all arrangements prior to importation, including the site’s availability to treat the quantity of seed within the consignment
  • all fees and charges associated with treatment application.

Seeds imported for sprouting or microgreen production do not require the additional management measures mentioned above. However, they must be germinated in an Approved Arrangement facility to ensure that the seeds are not directed for other uses.

Phase 2: Introduction of PCR testing for Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. raphani

Under Phase 2, the department will implement an additional option for Eruca vesicaria and Raphanus sativus to permit seed to be subject to PCR testing for the presence of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. raphani.

In Phase 2, the risk management options will be as follows:

  • For Eruca vesicaria, seed must meet one of the following options:
    • Treatment with a broad spectrum fungicide, such as Thiram®
    • PCR testing.
  • For Raphanus sativus, seed must meet one of the following options:
    • Treatment with a broad spectrum fungicide, such as Thiram®
    • PCR testing and heat treatment (either dry heat at 70°C for 90 minutes, hot water at 53°C for 10 minutes, or hot water at 50°C for 20 minutes).

A specific implementation date for Phase 2 is currently unavailable, and will be advised by the department once the PCR protocol for Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. raphani is validated.

Background

The increased biosecurity risk associated with imported seed has prompted the Department of Agriculture to review the import conditions for vegetable seeds that are imported for sowing.

We initiated a review of four vegetable seed policies, which was funded under the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper. The four vegetable families being reviewed are: Apiaceae (e.g. carrot, celery and parsnip), Brassicaceae (e.g. broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower), Cucurbitaceae (e.g. cucumber, melon, pumpkin) and Solanaceae (e.g. capsicum, eggplant and tomato).

The final of the Brassicaceous vegetable seeds review has recommended that additional biosecurity measures are applied to imported seed species, Brassica rapa (e.g. turnip and bok choy), Raphanus sativus (e.g radish) and Eruca vesicaria (e.g rocket) to manage the risk of fungal pathogens (Colletotrichum higginsianum and Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. raphani) that are of biosecurity concern to Australia.

Further information

For additional information you can email Plant Import Operations Branch at Imports or phone 1800 900 090.


 
Last reviewed: 7 November 2019
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