Shortages of grains across Australia has put pressure on Australian producers and the department has received a large number of queries regarding the importation of grain for animal feed or for milling. Grain imports pose one of the highest biosecurity risks with importation of contaminated product presenting a direct pathway for pest and disease transmission to susceptible animals and production areas in Australia. Examples of such diseases include transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (such as “mad cow disease”), foot and mouth disease, Newcastle disease, infectious bursal disease, and Karnal Bunt. Grains can also be contaminated with weed seeds, insects and other pathogens such as fungi of biosecurity concern.
Whole grain could become infected with these pests and diseases during the production phase of the crop or through contamination during processing, storage or transportation. Whole grains are not usually subject to any form of processing offshore (other than harvest and grading) which means additional levels of assessment, monitoring and controls are required to manage risks onshore in Australia.
The department assesses all applications to import grain on a case-by-case basis and will impose appropriate conditions to ensure that biosecurity risks are managed to an acceptably low level. In some instances it may not be possible to apply conditions which manage biosecurity risks appropriately and import will not be allowed. In each case:
- grain must be sourced from areas assessed to be of low plant and animal biosecurity risk
- consignments must be processed at an Approved Arrangement site in a metropolitan area and will not be permitted to leave metropolitan areas until processing is complete and approved by the department. Strict movement controls will be imposed to manage any biosecurity concerns with the consignment
- processing (eg milling, heat treatment) must be of sufficient rigour to address all biosecurity concerns and must effectively render any potential pathogens or pests unviable.
The Whole Grain Imports for Stockfeed or Milling guideline provides more detail about these requirements.
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Prior to the importation of whole grain an import permit application needs to be lodged with the department using Stock feed, supplements and ingredients of plant origin BICON case. The Whole Grain Imports for Stockfeed or Milling guideline provides more detail about the information that should be included as part of the import application.
Enquiries can be directed to Imports or 1800 900 090.