107-2021: Notification of revised import conditions for tomato seed for sowing commencing 23 June 2021

28 May 2021

Who does this notice affect?

This notice is of interest to importers (and their customs brokers) of tomato seed for sowing.

What is changing?

The purpose of this alert is to advise stakeholders of upcoming changes to import conditions for tomato seeds for sowing. These changes are being implemented in accordance with the final report on the pest risk analysis for Pepino mosaic virus and pospiviroids associated with tomato seed.

Information on the introduction of recommendations from the final pest risk analysis was published via a BICON Alert on 26 February 2021.

To summarise, the following three key changes will be implemented for tomato seed for sowing:

  1. Tomato seeds will no longer need to be tested for Tomato planta macho viroid.
  2. Wild tomato species will no longer need to be tested for Pepino mosaic virus (PepMV)and pospiviroids associated with tomato seeds.
  3. The sample size for PepMV testing will be increased to 20,000 seeds per seed lot (or 20% of small seed lots). Note: A transitional arrangement will be in place for seed lots that have been tested and found free from PepMV prior to the implementation date.

When will the changes be implemented?

Revised import conditions will commence on 23 June 2021.

What will the changes involve?

The three key changes to be implemented are described in detail below:

1. Removal of testing requirement for Tomato planta macho viroid

Imported tomato seeds will no longer need to be tested for Tomato planta macho viroid (TPMVd) as this viroid is not considered to be associated with the tomato seed pathway.

2. Reduced regulation for wild tomato species

Seeds of the following wild tomato species will no longer need to be tested for Pepino mosaic virus (PepMV), Potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd), Columnea latent viroid (CLVd), Pepper chat fruit viroid (PCFVd), Tomato apical stunt viroid (TASVd) and Tomato chlorotic dwarf viroid (TCDVd).

  • Solanum chilense
  • Solanum chmielewskii
  • Solanum parviflorum
  • Solanum peruvianum
  • Solanum pimpinellifolium

The above seed species are not known to be a pathway for the listed pathogens.

Wild tomato species will continue to be subject to testing requirements under the emergency measures for Tomato brown rugose fruit virus and Tomato mottle mosaic virus.

Important:

Solanum lycopersicum is still considered to be a pathway for PepMV, PSTVd, CLVd, PCFVd, TASVd and TCDVd. If the above species are hybridised with Solanum lycopersicum, the resultant seeds must be tested for these pathogens.

3. Increase to sample size requirements for Pepino mosaic virus testing

Testing of Solanum lycopersicum seed lots for Pepino mosaic virus (PepMV) will need to be performed using a sample of 20,000 seeds. This replaces the current 3,000 seed sample requirement for PepMV.

  1. Testing for PepMV must occur using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) or polymerase chain reaction (PCR), either prior to export or on-arrival at a department-approved laboratory in Australia.
  2. Existing conditions which allow for testing of small seed lots at 20% of the seed lot by weight will continue to remain in place.
  3. All samples for on-arrival testing must be drawn by a biosecurity officer.

What transitional arrangement will be in place to support the increase in sample size for Pepino mosaic virus testing?

The increase in sample size for PepMV testing will apply to any seed lot where testing is performed on or after 23 June 2021.

As a transitional arrangement, any seed lot tested before 23 June 2021 can continue to be imported using those test results with a 3,000 seed sample, subject to complying with the following import conditions.

Seed lots imported under the transitional arrangement must be:

  1. Accompanied by a testing report which confirms that testing for PepMV was undertaken prior to 23 June 2021.
  2. Found to be ‘negative’ for PepMV via PCR or ELISA. Testing results obtained using other methods, such as bioassay (either alone or in combination with PCR or ELISA), will not be accepted.
  3. Accompanied by a supplier’s declaration that includes the following:
  1. Either declaration 1a or 1b:
    1. “The seed of [botanical name] in seed lot/s [seed lot number/s] was produced in [country of origin] in the year [year of production] and the total seed lot/s comprised [quantities of lot/s in kilograms].”
    2. “The seed of [botanical name] in seed lots [seed lot number/s] was produced in [country of origin] in the year [year of production]. This/these seed lot/s were previously imported into Australia on [date] and found free of PepMV.
  2. The declaration “The seed lots listed above were packaged, stored and moved securely to prevent contamination.”
  3. The declaration “The seed lots listed above have not been mixed with any other seeds since samples were taken for testing.”

The department will continue to review the effectiveness of import conditions, including the transitional arrangement, which may result in further changes.

Will there be changes in testing requirements for other seed-borne pathogens?

All other conditions in place for tomato seeds will continue to apply, including mandatory testing for Tomato brown rugose fruit virus and Tomato mottle mosaic virus.

Import Permits

The department will contact affected import permit holders to vary existing import permits in line with the above changes.

The department intends to vary all affected import permits on 23 June 2021.

These permit variations will be initiated by the department and will be performed at no cost to permit holders.

Further information

We encourage you to keep informed through these alerts by subscribing to follow the ‘Tomato seed for sowing’ BICON case.

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 T2 – Tomato seeds’).

Last reviewed: 28 May 2021
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