Fresh strawberry fruit from Japan

We have commenced a review of biosecurity import requirements for the importation of fresh strawberry fruit (Fragaria × ananassa) from Japan.

The review will be conducted in three steps

  1. On 1 November 2017, the department announced the commencement of the risk analysis via the release of Biosecurity Advice 2017/22 and the Announcement Information Paper​.
  2. Departmental experts will conduct a review of scientific knowledge of pests and diseases of concern and release a draft report for public comment for a period of 60 days in early 2018.
  3. We will then complete the risk analysis, taking into consideration all stakeholder submissions, and release the final report.

Timing for this process

We expect to release the draft report for stakeholder consultation in early 2018.

Stakeholder consultation

We have put in place a liaison officer role to engage with stakeholders on import risk analysis, including this risk analysis.

The liaison officer role for risk analysis is funded under the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper to help strengthen biosecurity surveillance and analysis.

The liaison officer will act as a first point of contact for stakeholders to address any concerns and provide information about the risk analysis process.

Their role is to:

  • share information between stakeholders and the team doing the risk analysis
  • answer stakeholder questions
  • provide advance notice of steps in the risk analysis and where the process is up to.

We will consult with industry representatives and relevant state and territory agriculture authorities throughout the review process. This will ensure we have all available scientific information relevant to this review.

If you wish to know more about this review or the risk analysis review process please email Plant Stakeholders or phone +61 2 6272 5094.

Register as a stakeholder

Biosecurity Plant Division uses the Stakeholder Register for distributing biosecurity policy information to its stakeholders. By subscribing to the Stakeholder Register, you will receive Biosecurity Advices on commodities of particular interest to you. To register visit stakeholder registration.

General information

A preliminary assessment of the pests associated with strawberries from Japan has been undertaken. The potential pests of quarantine concern identified through the preliminary assessment are the same, or of the same pest group, as quarantine pests of strawberries from New Zealand, the USA (California) and the Republic of Korea.

Type of process

The review of biosecurity import requirements (a non-regulated risk analysis) is a process used by the department to consider an import proposal when potential pests of concern identified in a preliminary assessment are the same as, or similar to, pests for which risk management measures are already established.

These reviews are comprehensive reviews of existing import requirements and new science.

If the risks posed by an import proposal do not achieve Australia’s appropriate level of protection (ALOP), the review will specify that the import will not proceed, unless appropriate risk management measures have been identified that will reduce those risks to an acceptable level.

Review considerations

The review considers the risks of pests and diseases associated with the proposed import along with any risk management measures that could address these risks.

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. 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.  This is called the appropriate level of protection (ALOP).

Appropriate level of protection (ALOP)

Australia’s ALOP is defined in the Biosecurity Act 2015 as providing a high level of sanitary and phytosanitary protection aimed at reducing biosecurity risk to a very low level, 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, international travel or imports.

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

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.

Identifying risk

A risk analysis is an examination of the potential biosecurity risks associated with an import of animals, plants or other goods into Australia. It plays an important role in protecting Australia’s biosecurity.

If the assessed level of biosecurity risk does not achieve Australia’s ALOP, we will consider whether there are any risk management measures that would reduce the biosecurity risk to achieve the ALOP. If there are no risk management measures that reduce the risk to that level, trade will not be allowed.

New scientific information

Scientific information can be provided to the department at any time, including after a review has been completed. The department will consider the information provided and will review the import policy, if required.

Protection from exotic pests in Australia

A comprehensive risk analysis of pests and diseases will be undertaken and risk management options will be recommended to address any risks of exotic pests and diseases. Any recommended measures will reflect Australia’s overall approach to the management of biosecurity risk.

Zero risk is impossible; it would mean no tourists, international travel or imports of any commodities. Australia invests heavily in biosecurity to ensure risks are appropriately managed and achieve Australia’s ALOP.

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 Australia’s appropriate level of protection.

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

Following assessment of the pest risks identified, if risk management measures achieve Australia’s ALOP, imports may be permitted. It will however be a commercial decision by an Australian importer to apply for an import permit, if required, in order for imports to commence.