Compliance-based inspection trial for USA limes and lemons

​In November 2016, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources will begin a pilot program under the compliance-based inspection scheme for lemons and limes sourced from the United States of America (USA). The department will notify stakeholders of the commencement date of this program via alerts published on the department’s Biosecurity Import Conditions (BICON) system.

The trial aims to increase efficiency of the import process for lemons and limes from USA whilst maintaining a robust system to protect against incursions of exotic pests and diseases.

As part of the trial we will:

  • Monitor the effectiveness of the trial throughout the 2016-17 season, with a view to expanding or adjusting the onshore processing requirements for future seasons.
  • Gradually expand the trial to additional pathways eligible for Offshore Preshipment Inspection (OPI) that have demonstrated a history of good compliance.
  • Provide you with feedback on the inspection outcome so that you can communicate this with your US suppliers to maintain or improve compliance performance.

The expansion of this trial will be accompanied by a gradual wind down of the OPI program over the coming years.

Qualifying for reduced inspection

If your consignments of imported fresh lemons or limes from the USA have not undergone Offshore Preshipment Inspection (OPI), they will automatically be processed under the compliance-based inspection trial.

Importers and brokers do not need to take any additional steps to participate in the trial apart from ensuring that consignments are lodged in line mode.

If you are importing lemons and limes from the USA, you can qualify for the reduced inspection rate by achieving consistent compliance with biosecurity conditions, by passing 5 consecutive inspections.

Once you have qualified for the reduced rate:

Each future consignment will have a 25% (1-in-4) chance of being selected for inspection. Consignments not selected for inspection will be released following a documentation assessment.

If a consignment fails an inspection, you will return to having all consignments inspected until they pass another 5 consecutive inspections to requalify for the reduced inspection rate.

An inspection will be counted as a ‘pass’ if no actionable insects, pathogens or trash are detected. Insects or pathogens deemed to be non-actionable (not considered to be quarantine pests) will not be counted as a ‘failure’, and will not affect the importer’s compliance history or inspection rate.

Benefits of the trial

The benefits of compliance-based inspection over the existing OPI arrangement are:

  • Reduced inspections on arrival for compliant importers
  • Reduced costs for importers by removing the OPI program and associated costs, as well as significantly reducing inspection costs
  • Incentives and feedback through biosecurity data for industry to work towards better biosecurity outcomes and supply chains.

Tips for participating in the trial

You are more likely to benefit from reduced inspections if you take steps to make sure your imported produce is free from:

  • Actionable pests
  • Trash (excess plant material and other contaminants).

Over half of the actionable pests resulting in inspection failures for lemon and lime imports from USA were mites - particularly mites of the genus Brevipalpus.

We can help you by providing a summary of your on arrival compliance history to identify causes of non-compliance, such as the detection of actionable pests.

To receive a report on your biosecurity performance for past lemon and lime imports or for regular feedback reports over the course of the trial email the Plant imports team.