Australian Fumigation Accreditation Scheme fumigation requirements – Frequently asked questions

​​​The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, November 2016

This factsheet outlines the frequently asked questions relating to requirements for treatment under the Australian Fumigation Accreditation Scheme.

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What is the Australian Fumigation Accreditation Scheme?

The Australian Fumigation Accreditation Scheme (AFAS) is a bilateral arrangement between the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (the department) and your country’s biosecurity regulatory agency. AFAS manages the high biosecurity risk posed by ineffective methyl bromide (MB) fumigations.

AFAS ensures ongoing compliance of registered MB treatment providers with the requirements of the AFAS MB fumigation standard. AFAS registered treatment providers are trained in all AFAS requirements and undergo regular compliance assessments providing increased confidence in the pre-export MB fumigations conducted on Australian bound consignments.

What are Australia’s biosecurity import conditions and where are they found?

Import conditions are the requirements that must be met before goods can be imported into Australia. They can include commodity treatments, manufacturing requirements, proof of origin or commodity testing requirements.

Australia’s biosecurity import conditions can be found in the Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON). BICON provides details, through import scenarios, for commodities that are being imported into Australia. It also includes details on commodity treatment requirements.

Search BICON for the goods you wish to import into Australia. For timber furniture or wooden handicrafts, searching ‘timber’ leads you multiple ‘cases’, with the ‘wooden manufactured articles’ case being the most appropriate. This case then provides you with the import conditions, treatment options and requirements, such as fumigation dose rate and duration.

Why are the details on AFAS fumigation certificates important?

AFAS fumigation certificates must contain all the details contained in the fumigation certificate template – Appendix 5 of the AFAS MB Fumigation Standard​.

Accurate treatment certification details are very important to ensure that departmental officers in Australia can assess consignments for compliance without the need for further intervention or re-treatment upon arrival. The department does not accept treatment certificates if the fumigation details are unclear or incorrect.

AFAS fumigation certificates must clearly indicate the target of the fumigation. This may be the commodity, the packing or both. AFAS treatment providers must understand the AFAS MB fumigation suitability requirements and make an assessment prior to fumigation. Where a commodity is unsuitable for fumigation, the fumigation certificate issued CANNOT state that it was the target of the fumigation. While an unsuitable commodity may be present inside the fumigation enclosure, as it is unsuitable for fumigation, it CANNOT be considered the target of the fumigation and this must be accurately reflected in the certification issued.

What are the consequences of AFAS non-compliance?

Consequences apply where failed fumigations or inaccurate certification is identified. Consignments can be directed for re-treatment, export or destruction to address the biosecurity risk on arrival in Australia. AFAS treatment providers can be ‘suspended’ and increased border intervention can be imposed on future consignments from importers or exporters responsible for previous non-compliance. Treatment provider suspensions and increased border intervention ensures Australia’s biosecurity requirements are met and encourages corrective actions to be taken to ensure future compliance.

What are the AFAS MB fumigation impervious surface requirements?

The target of AFAS MB fumigations must not be wrapped or coated in impervious materials or coatings that may prevent the MB fumigant from penetrating the target of the fumigation. Impervious materials or coatings include plastic, waxed or foil wrapping, all paints, lacquers, stains, waxes and veneers. These materials prevent the effective penetration of MB.

If impervious wrappings are present they must be perforated, cut or removed prior to fumigation to allow the MB to reach the target of the fumigation.

Timber products must be fumigated before any impervious coating is applied unless all components of the product (e.g. table/chair legs) have at least one uncoated surface and a maximum thickness of 100 mm from the uncoated surface.

It is the responsibility of the exporter to ensure that the commodity/packing requiring MB fumigation is presented in a suitable condition for treatment. If it isn’t, AFAS treatment providers are unable to effectively fumigate the commodity or issue a fumigation certificate that covers the treatment of the unsuitable elements of the consignment. Where this is the case, an alternative treatment option, listed in BICON, must be utilised.

Full details on the AFAS MB fumigation suitability requirements are included in the AFAS MB Fumigation Standard, Section 3.2 and Appendix 3.

What are the AFAS MB fumigation free air space requirements?

The free air space requirements for effective treatment of a consignment will vary depending on the commodity and the method of packing. As a guide, there should be at least 350 mm of free airspace in total with 200 mm free air space above the commodity, 50 mm below and the remaining 100 mm at the sides and between the commodities.

Where commodities are stacked on the floor there must be sufficient free air space between individual items to allow the fumigant to reach the target of the fumigation throughout the entire enclosure. If there is insufficient space to allow the monitoring tubes to be positioned according to AFAS requirements then it is also unlikely that there will be enough free air space in the fumigation enclosure to allow for an effective fumigation.

What are the dose rates for MB fumigations on Australian bound commodities?

Exporters and treatment providers should search BICON to identify the correct dose rate for the commodity to be exported. The dose (g/m³), duration (hours) and temperature dose adjustment requirements will be provided. The common dose rate for the fumigation of ‘manufactured wooden articles’ is 48g/m³ for 24 hours at a minimum temperature of 21°C.

Is it acceptable to fumigate at a higher dose rate than that listed on BICON?

Treating consignments at a higher dose rate than required in BICON is not recommended. Dose rates are set to ensure the minimum usage of MB to achieve the maximum result of pest extermination. Using a higher dose rate than required in BICON is a waste of fumigant resulting in increased costs and the release of additional MB into the environment.

Further information

Additional information can be found by searching “AFAS” on the department’s website or by contacting AFAS.​
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