Capsicum spp. fruit from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu

​Review of biosecurity import requirements for fresh Capsicum spp. fruit from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu

We are conducting a risk analysis for Capsicum spp. fruit (chillies, capsicums and peppers) from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.

We will conduct the risk analysis in three key steps:

  1. Announce the commencement of the risk analysis, on 21 September 2018, via Biosecurity Advice 2018-23​ and an Announcement Information Paper​.
  2. Conduct a review of scientific knowledge of pests and diseases of concern and release the draft report, for a 60 day consultation period in mid-2019.
  3. Release the final report, following consideration of stakeholder comments.

A summary of the review background and process is available in the fact sheet​.

Purpose of the Risk Analysis

We are conducting this risk analysis in response to requests from Pacific Island countries for the import of Capsicum spp. fruit into Australia.

As a World Trade Organization member, Australia must assess market access requests and develop the least trade restrictive import conditions that are scientifically justified. Our trading partners use the same principles when assessing Australian market access requests.

An initial assessment shows that the potential quarantine pests associated with Capsicum spp. fruit from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu are fruit flies, mealybugs, scale insects and thrips. These pests are the same, or belong to the same groups of pests, as those we have previously assessed for other horticultural goods, and for which risk management measures are established.

With this in mind, we are conducting this risk analysis as a review of biosecurity import requirements (a non-regulated risk analysis).

General Information

Register as a stakeholder

We use the stakeholder register for distributing biosecurity risk analysis policy information. Stakeholders interested in receiving information and updates on biosecurity risk analyses are invited to subscribe via the department’s new online subscription service. By subscribing to Biosecurity Risk Analysis Plant, you will receive Biosecurity Advices and other notifications relating to plant biosecurity policy.

Protecting Australia from exotic pests

Australia is free from many of the world’s most damaging plant pests, which are capable of damaging our natural environment, destroying our food production and agriculture industries, and changing our way of life. Australia’s biosecurity system, which includes the risk assessment process, helps protect us from exotic plant pests.

We undertake risk assessments of pests and identify risk management options to address any risks posed by these exotic pests. These measures reflect Australia’s overall approach to the management of biosecurity risk.

Zero risk is impossible. Aiming for zero risk would mean no tourists, no international travel and no imports of any commodities. Australia invests heavily in biosecurity to ensure risks are managed.

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

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

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 Organisation 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 appropriate level of protection.

Appropriate level of protection

The appropriate level of protection (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 was agreed with all our state and territory governments and recognises that a zero-risk stance is impractical.

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

Read more about Australia’s ALOP

Biosecurity risk

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.

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.

New scientific information

Scientific information can be provided to us at any time, even after a risk analysis has been completed. We will consider the information provided and review the analysis.

Meeting Australia’s food standards

Imported food for human consumption must satisfy Australia’s food standards. Australian law requires that all food, including imported fresh fruit, meets the standards set out in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code and the requirements of the Imported Food Control Act 1992. Each state and territory also has its own food laws that must be met.

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) is responsible for developing and maintaining the Code, including Standard 1.4.2, maximum residue limits. The standards apply to all food in Australia, irrespective of whether it is grown domestically or imported.

Timing of imports

After conducting a review of scientific knowledge of pests of concern, a draft report is released for a 60 calendar day public consultation period. During this time, stakeholders are encouraged to submit technical comments on the draft report. This ensures that the final report reflects the best available science.

Following the consideration of stakeholder comments, a final report is released. The final report reflects the completion of the risk analysis. Before imports can commence we:

  • verify that a country can action the recommended risk management measures
  • publish import conditions on the Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON)
  • issue import permits for trade to commence.

The decision to import agricultural produce to Australia is a commercial decision between an importer in Australia and a supplier in the exporting country who can meet the import conditions.

Contact information

For more information, stakeholders can email imports or phone 1800 900 090 (option 1, option 1).