Expand links In this section

Importation of cooked turkey meat from the United States

​​The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has commenced a review of biosecurity import conditions for cooked turkey meat from the US.

There are three principal steps in the process. This review is currently at step 2.

  1. The department announced the commencement of the review via the release of
    Biosecurity Advice 2014-15 on 9 December 2014.
  2. The department released a draft report via Biosecurity Advice 2016-28 on 16 August 2016 for a
    60​​‑​day stakeholder comment period. The comment period was extended to 90-days
    (Biosecurity Advice 2016-32) at the request of stakeholders and closed on 15 November 2016. The draft report outlined the identified biosecurity risks and proposed risk management measures to achieve Australia’s appropriate level of protection (ALOP)
    • The department has reviewed the comments received and is seeking further information on Infections Bursal Disease Virus (IBDV) to completely assess the biosecurity risks. Comments received also prompted a review of time and temperature requirements for cooking as defined in the scope.
    • Once this information has been received and the definition of cooking reviewed it is likely that the draft review will require further updates. We anticipate that the draft review will be released for further 60-day stakeholder comment period prior to finalisation.
  3. The department will consider stakeholder comments and publish a final report. The final report marks the end of this review process.

Stakeholder consultation

The department has advised affected industries and the United States government authorities of the formal commencement and release of the draft report of this review. The department will consult with stakeholders again when the draft report is released for a further comment period. Stakeholders will again be able to make submissions on the draft report for consideration by the department.

For more information, stakeholders can email Animal Biosecurity or register as a stakeholder to be kept informed about this and other risk reviews of interest.

[expand all]

Update – August 2017

Following the 90 day public consultation period which ended on 15 November 2016 the department reviewed the comments received and is seeking further information on specific diseases to completely assess the biosecurity risks.

Comments were received, in particular, about the conclusion that the prevalence of infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) in US turkeys is likely to be very low. The department is working with the US to obtain prevalence data for IBDV in US turkeys and the review will be progressed further once the information becomes available.

Comments received also suggested the time and temperature requirements for cooking as defined in the scope may be impractical for the products intended for export. Therefore a review of the definition of cooking is in progress.

Once this information has been received it is likely that the draft review will require further updates. We anticipate that the draft review will be released for further consultation prior to finalisation.

Rationale for the review

The department commenced this review in response to the United States request for market access for cooked turkey meat. The review will identify and recommend appropriate risk mitigation requirements where available to inactivate bacterial, fungal and viral pathogens and parasites in cooked turkey meat from the United States.

Review of cooked turkey meat biosecurity import requirements

A review of biosecurity import requirements is a process used by the department to consider an import proposal when the potential quarantine pests and diseases of concern identified are the same as or similar to quarantine pests and diseases for which import conditions currently exist.

The analysis considers the biosecurity risks of pests and diseases associated with the proposed import along with any measures that could address the risks.

The department completed a preliminary hazard identification for cooked turkey meat from the United States and concluded that the majority of potential animal biosecurity diseases of concern are the same as, or similar to, those in the Generic Import Risk Analysis Report for Chicken Meat (2008). Therefore, a review of the Generic Import Risk Analysis Report for Chicken Meat (2008), with some additional considerations relevant to turkeys that were not considered at that time, was progressed.

This is consistent with the Biosecurity Act 2015 and Biosecurity Import Risk Analysis Guidelines 2016.

Protecting Australia from exotic pests and diseases

Australia's biosecurity system protects our unique environment and agricultural sector and supports our reputation as a safe and reliable trading nation. This has significant economic, environmental and community benefits for all Australians.

The term ‘biosecurity risk’ is used to describe the combination of the likelihood and the consequences of a pest or disease of biosecurity concern entering, establishing and spreading in Australia.

The department undertakes comprehensive risk analyses of potential biosecurity risks associated with the import of animals, plants or other goods into Australia and recommends risk management options to address these risks. Any recommended measures will reflect Australia’s overall approach to the management of biosecurity risk.

Zero risk is impossible; it would mean no tourists, no international travel and no imports of any commodities. Australia invests heavily in biosecurity to ensure risks are managed to the lowest possible level.

Australia exports almost two thirds of its agricultural produce. The future of our agriculture and food industries, including their capacity to contribute to growth and jobs, depends on Australia’s capacity to maintain a good plant and animal health status.

Australia accepts imports only when we are confident the risks of pests and diseases can be managed to achieve the appropriate level of protection (ALOP) for Australia.

Considerations during a review of biosecurity import requirements

International obligations

All World Trade Organization (WTO) members are signatories to the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (the SPS Agreement), under which they have both rights and obligations.

The basic obligations of the SPS Agreement are that SPS measures must:

  • be based on a risk assessment appropriate to the circumstances or drawn from standards developed by the World Organization for Animal Health and the International Plant Protection Convention
  • only be applied to the extent necessary to protect human, animal or plant life or health
  • be based on science
  • not arbitrarily or unjustifiably discriminate between WTO members, or be a disguised restriction on trade.

Under the SPS Agreement, each WTO Member is entitled to maintain a level of protection it considers appropriate to protect human, animal or plant life or health within its territory – in other words, its ALOP.

Appropriate level of protection

The ALOP for Australia is defined in the Biosecurity Act 2015 as: a high level of sanitary and phytosanitary protection aimed at reducing biosecurity risks to very low, but not to zero.

This definition has been reached with the agreement of all state and territory governments and recognises that a zero risk stance is impractical because this would mean Australia would have no tourists, no international travel and no imports.

The ALOP is a broad objective, and risk management measures are established to achieve that objective.

Meeting Australia’s food laws

All food sold in Australia must satisfy Australia’s food laws. Australian law requires that all food, including imported fresh fruit, meets the standards set out in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, adheres to the food laws of each state and territory, and meets the requirements of the Imported Food Control Act 1992.

New scientific information

The department basis its risk analyses on available information and existing science. New scientific information can be provided to the department at any time, including after a risk analysis has been completed. The department will consider the information provided and may amend the import conditions if deemed necessary to maintain Australia’s ALOP.