Volume 9 - Commodity inspections - horticulture


Department of Agriculture and Water Resources


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Volume 9: Commodity Inspections - Horticulture PDF 231.0 MB
​​ Volume 9: Commodity Inspections - Horticulture DOC 236.9 MB

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This volume outlines the overarching phytosanitary principles for sampling and inspection of prescribed goods under the existing legislation framework. The procedures described in this document apply when an authorised officer is drawing samples and inspecting prescribed goods for the purpose of phytosanitary inspection and provision of export certification.

For the purposes of this document prescribed goods include:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Dried fruit
  • Other prescribed goods: cut flowers, foliage and nursery stock for which a Phytosanitary certificate is required by an importing country.

Sampling and inspection of prescribed goods must be carried out at a registered establishment by an authorised officer. Individuals undertaking these activities must be suitably qualified, have relevant approval, authorisation and delegations necessary to inspect prescribed goods prepared for export.

Legislation and Related Documents

The Export Control Act 1982 and subordinate legislation provides the legal authority under which AQIS regulates the export of prescribed goods.

The Export Control Act 1982 and its subordinate legislation – Export Control (Prescribed Goods – General) Orders 2005; Export Control (Plant and Plant Products) Orders 2011; Export Control (Fees) Orders 2001, are all accessible via the Federal Register of Legislation.

The Legislation together with the Plant Export Operations Manual outlines the conditions and requirements for the export of Prescribed Goods.

There is different commodities outlined in the legislation and an example can be any of the following:

Prescribed Goods

Export Control (Plant and Plant Product) Orders 2011

  • Fresh Fruit and vegetables
  • Dried Fruit
  • Plant and Plant Products

Goods other than Prescribed Goods (Non Prescribed Goods)

Export Control (Prescribed Goods-General) Orders, Part8, Section 8.05

  • Non prescribed goods are goods that are not outlined under the legislation as being a prescribed good. There is provision for Non-Prescribed to be exported with a Government Certificate which is outlined in the Export Control (Prescribed Goods-General) Orders under Order 8.05.
  • An example of a Non Prescribed Good is frozen capsicum and processed goods.

Prohibited Goods

Export Control (Prescribed Goods-General) Orders, Part 2, Order 5&6

Export Control Act 1982, Sub Clause 7

  • Goods that the importing country has refused entry and there is no market access. An example is watermelon is a prohibited import into French Polynesia.

Goods to which the Orders do not apply

Export Control (Prescribed Goods-General) Orders, Part2, Section 2.01 & 2.02

  • Goods that are imported into Australia and re-exported in the same covering and under the same trade description as the covering and trade description in or under which they were imported

Goods which are exempt under the Orders

Export Control (Prescribed Goods-General) Orders, Part3, Section 3.01, 3.02 & 3.03

  • Goods for which an exemption has been sought

Reference and Instructional Material

  • Work Instructions: The work instructions will give the AAO a quick guide to complete a specific activity. These can be access via the downloadable resources link.
  • Work Plans: The work Plans are detailed work instructions for products that are to be inspected for a specific country and are derived from a specific protocol.
  • Bi-Lateral Quarantine Arrangement: The Bi-Lateral Quarantine Arrangement Systems Operation Manual (BQASOM) is a document outlining the condition for the import of Fresh Fruit and Vegetables into New Zealand.
  • Product Identification, Pests and Diseases: A reference library has been developed to assist the authorised officer with identifying a commodity and the pests and diseases associated with goods that an AAO will be inspecting.


Prior to commencing sampling, ensure that you have a copy of all export documents and information associated with the consignment/lot. This must include importing country requirements. Use of technical reference material e.g. pest information is strongly recommended.

Authorised officers will ensure that documentation is correctly filled out, including Additional Declarations where required.

Required documentation needed prior to conducting an inspection includes the following:

  • Notice Of Intention (where appropriate) or RFP
  • Import permit/PHYTO database print out
  • Phytosanitary certificates
  • Treatment certificates
  • Inspection worksheets
  • Records of any rejections and treatment certificates of goods.
  • Transfer certificate
  • Inspection advice
  • Pest free area statements from state departments of Primary industries
  • Export Delegate inspection records (BQA)
  • Evidence of Grower Registration if applicable
  • Evidence of Pack house Registration if applicable
  • Any other government certificate

Note that all these records may not be applicable for an inspection.

Booking Information

Authorised officers will be requested by an exporter to complete a phytosanitary inspection. Refer to the appointment/booking sheet for client details and ensure the following information is presented:

  • Inspection location
  • Date and time for the inspection
  • Name of the exporter and/or freight forwarder
  • Contact name and phone number
  • Commodity name(s)
  • Destination country
  • Documentation required meeting importing country requirements
  • Details of the consignment such as the number of cartons, trays and/or weight total
  • Booking reference number (if applicable)
  • This information may be in the form of a Notice of Intention to Export (Ex28) or a Request for Permit (RFP).

Export Establishment

The authorised officer will need to confirm that the establishment the inspection is to be conducted at is export registered. The establishment must also be registered for the commodity that will be inspected.

Importing Country Requirement

The authorised officer must be aware of the specific importing country authority requirements for the consignment to be inspected; that is, whether treatment certificates are required or additional declarations needed or there are specific objects of quarantine concern.

This information is found in overseas country import permits, the PHYTO database and Work plans/Manuals where applicable. Valid import permits override conditions contained in the PHYTO database (and/or Workplans) and where these differ, the PHYTO Administrator must be supplied with a copy of the import permit.

Inspection Area

The authorised officer will ensure the area to be used for the phytosanitary inspection is clean, correctly lit, and free of pests and sources of cross contamination.

The inspection table must have a clean surface that is adequate to perform the inspection as well as an inspection tray. This must be thoroughly cleaned prior to commencing the inspection.

For advanced nursery stock inspected outdoors, the authorised officer should ensure the surrounding area is clean and free of long grass and weeds and preferably presented in a sheltered area. Surface should be concrete or gravelled.


  • Minimum lighting standard (natural or artificial) is to be the equivalent of 600 lux or as guide 3 standard fluorescent lights at 1.2 metres above the inspection table surface. For advanced nursery stock inspected in a shed or building, there must be suitable natural or artificial light.

The authorised officer will ensure there is adequate access to all packed goods so as to be able to draw samples in a safe manner from the whole of the lot/consignment.


  • Where an end point inspection is to be conducted the inspection will not commence until the entire lot/consignment is available before commencing sampling and inspection.
  • Where an in line inspection is to be conducted the authorised officer will determine the number of units to form the lot/consignment before commencing sampling and inspection.

Trade Description

When a trade description is applied to prescribed goods, the export of those goods is prohibited unless that trade description is adequate and accurate.

For the purposes of meeting legislative requirements, a trade description applied to goods is taken to be adequate if it:

  • contains sufficient information to enable the goods to be readily identified; and
  • is not ambiguous or unclear; and
  • satisfies any particular requirements under these Orders relating to the application of trade descriptions.

A trade description applied to goods is taken to be accurate if it correctly describes the goods.

The trade description applied to horticulture produce (other than nursery stock and cut flowers) must contain sufficient information to enable importing country authorities to clear the goods and must set out in prominent and legible characters:

  • the net contents; and
  • the date of packaging or processing; and
  • the country of origin shown as:
    • ‘AUSTRALIAN’ conjoined with the name of the goods; or
    • such other captions that clearly indicate Australia as the country where the goods originated or last underwent preparation that changed their nature
  • the number allotted to the registered establishment in which processing last occurred;
  • the name and address of the manufacturer, producer, exporter or consignee; and
  • any other information specified in the Orders in relation to the goods.

Product standards and trade descriptions for dried fruits

In addition to complying with other applicable requirements of this Part, dried fruits must conform with the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

Packaging standards and trade descriptions for fresh fruits and fresh vegetables

In addition to complying with other applicable requirements of this Part, fresh fruits and fresh vegetables must comply with the requirements of Schedule 4.

General requirements for packaging

Materials to be used as packaging materials for prescribed goods and other materials applied to prescribed goods at the time of packaging:

  • preferably must not have been previously used or, if previously used and intended for repeated use, must have been cleaned and reconditioned to the satisfaction of an authorised officer; and
  • must be used in a manner that is unlikely to place the acceptability of the prescribed goods at risk; and
  • must be sufficiently strong to withstand the handling ordinarily incurred by the materials during transit to the final destination; and
  • must be otherwise appropriate to the goods.

Records of dates of packaging

If prescribed goods originate from different registered establishments and are repacked at another registered establishment, the occupier of that other registered establishment must maintain a record of:

  • the packing dates; and
  • the establishments at which the goods were originally packed.

Fruit, vegetables and dried fruit not fit for human consumption

Fresh fruits, fresh vegetables and dried fruits that are not fit for human consumption must be clearly marked as not fit for human consumption.

Volume 8A | Index | Volume 9 (cont.)