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Australia new food import conditions come into effect today

Staff Writer |
The Australian Government will be making a number of changes to the permit conditions for certain items of fresh produce from selected countries, which will come into effect on Friday, June 30.

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Under the Biosecurity Act 2015, the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources revised the requirements for a number of goods, when specified import conditions have been met. In particular goods with standard import conditions including fresh produce for human consumption.

"The removal of import permits for these goods provides a more flexible risk based approach to compliance which assists with reducing costs and the regulatory burden to importers," a department spokesperson said.

"While importers of these goods no longer require an import permit, they still need to ensure the import conditions outlined in the department’s Biosecurity Import Conditions System (BICON) are met."

The department says it is only specific imports that are being lifted and a permit is still required for any new fresh produce commodity/country pathways.

This will allow the department to monitor and confirm that biosecurity risks associated with the new trade pathways are appropriately managed under the established import conditions.

Strawberries imported from the United States of America will now need a permit after a recent review of fresh strawberry pathways. It is part of the Import Conditions Review Project, which is one of the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper initiatives.

"The basis of this recommendation include: no or very low levels of trade for fresh strawberries from the U.S. in recent years, and historical interceptions of a bacterial disease, Angular Leaf Spot," the department said.

"The import permit requirement is to notify the department when there is intent to import strawberries from the US so that any potential disease risk can be managed."

From 30 June 2017 selected commodities will no longer require an import permit when the alternative conditions in the Goods Determination are met.

This includes:

- Chrysanthemum spp. as fresh cut flowers and foliage from all countries
- All species of bark, other than slippery elm bark powder (Ulmus spp.), for human consumption and human therapeutic use from all countries
- Fresh grapes for human consumption from China
- Fresh mango for human consumption from Vietnam and all regions of India
- Fresh apricots and interspecific stone fruit hybrids for human consumption from the United States of America
- Fresh Agrocybe cylindracea mushrooms for human consumption from all countries
- Dried Trametes versicolor mushrooms for human consumption from all countries
- Frozen Cantharellus cibarius and Craterellus cornucopioides mushrooms for human consumption from all countries.


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