127-2020 – Notification of planned urgent actions for khapra beetle

13 August 2020

Who does this notice affect?

Travellers, online shoppers, recipients of international mail and other stakeholders including importers of plant products, freight forwarders, customs brokers and high-volume specialist operators specialising in moving personal effects.

What has changed?

Within the next two months the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (the department) will implement urgent actions to address the risk of khapra beetle (Trogoderma granarium) on high-risk plant products that are hosts of this pest.

The urgent actions will be applied to the following plant products (in various raw and physically processed forms for any end use), which have been identified as high-risk:

  • Rice (Oryza sativa)
  • Chickpeas (Cicer arietinum)
  • Cucurbit seed (Cucurbita spp; Cucumis spp. and Citrullus spp.)
  • Cumin seed (Cuminum cyminum)
  • Safflower seed (Carthamus tinctorius)
  • Bean seed (Phaseolus spp.)
  • Soybean (Glycine max)
  • Mung beans, cowpeas (Vigna spp.)
  • Lentils (Lens culinaris)
  • Wheat (Triticum aestivum)
  • Coriander seed (Coriandrum sativum)
  • Celery seed (Apium graveolens)
  • Peanuts (Arachis hypogaea)
  • Dried chillies/capsicum (Capsicum spp.)
  • Faba bean (Vicia faba)
  • Pigeon Pea (Cajanus cajan)
  • Pea seed (Pisum sativum)
  • Fennel seed (Foeniculum spp.).

The following exclusions apply: goods that are thermally processed that are commercially manufactured and packaged such as retorted, blanched, roasted, fried, boiled, puffed, malted or pasteurised goods, and commercially manufactured frozen food and frozen plant products or oils derived from vegetables or seed.

The urgent actions for high-risk plant products will be implemented through several measures and include (but are not limited to):

  1. Banning high-risk plant products from entering Australia from all countries as unaccompanied personal effects (UPEs) and within low value air and sea freight (lodged through self-assessed clearance (SAC)), but excluding goods imported as commercial trade samples and for research purposes.
  2. Banning high-risk plant products from entering Australia from all countries in accompanied baggage and in mail.
  3. Extending phytosanitary certification verifying freedom from Trogoderma species to all high-risk plant products imported via commercial pathways from all countries - this will require government officials of the exporting country to certify that consignments are free from all Trogoderma species, including T. granarium (khapra beetle).
  4. Introducing mandatory offshore treatment of high-risk plant products imported via commercial pathways from countries determined to pose an unacceptable khapra beetle risk (these measures will not apply for seeds for planting).

When will the changes commence?

The measures will be implemented in several phases. Banning high-risk plant products from entering Australia as unaccompanied personal effects and within low value air and sea freight lodged through SAC (Phase 1) (excluding goods imported as commercial trade samples and for research purposes) is expected to be implemented in August 2020. Additional IAN alerts will be published to notify stakeholders of the specific details of the actions and implementation dates for each phase.

The department will vary any existing permits, where required. Affected import permit holders will be contacted by the department to discuss this prior to the variation.

Will anything else change?

Additional actions for lower risk plant products (e.g. other seeds and flours not listed as high risk, dried fruits and vegetables) are also being considered and may include extending phytosanitary certification to include verification of freedom from khapra beetle. Additional actions to manage the hitchhiking risk of khapra beetle in containers are being considered for the longer term, which may include treatments of containers prior to loading of goods, and treatment of empty containers. Further consultation on the proposed container changes will occur with impacted industries prior to any change.

Why are these changes being implemented?

These urgent actions are considered necessary because:

  • The global spread of khapra beetle is increasing and it is being detected on a wide range of plant products and as a hitchhiker pest on containers, from places where khapra is not known to occur.
  • Khapra beetle is a significant threat to Australian plant industries, including the grain export industry. Khapra beetle destroys grain quality making it unfit for human or animal consumption. Stored products also become contaminated with beetles, cast skins and hairs from larvae, which can be a human health risk.
  • If khapra beetle enters Australia it would have significant economic consequences. An outbreak could cost Australia $15.5 billion over 20 years through revenue losses arising from reduction in production and exports.

Australia currently has biosecurity requirements for many plant products that could be infested with khapra beetle. However, the department believes that the biosecurity requirements need to be expanded and strengthened to prevent a khapra beetle incursion.

Further information

  • Further details on these urgent actions will be published via the department’s Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON) alert page and the department’s IAN webpage before they are implemented.
  • The department will also notify existing import permit holders that are affected by the changes, where required.
  • Trading partners have been notified of the urgent actions by the department through official channels.
  • The department will liaise with key stakeholders on the proposed actions.
  • Enquiries can be directed to 1800 900 090 or via email at imports@agriculture.gov.au (please title the subject line of the email with ‘Plant Tier 2 – khapra urgent actions’).
Last reviewed: 13 August 2020
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