International Updates

International Updates

Alert: Rodent Dropping Contamination Tolerance for Seed for Sowing (Australia)

Effective: 18 April 2019 to 19 July 2019

The purpose of this notification is to advise on the interim policy to manage rodent faecal contamination in imported pasture seed (such asLoliumspp.,Festucaspp.,Poaspp,Agrostisspp) for sowing – Updated 26 April 2019.

Who does this notice affect: Importers and exporters of pasture seed for sowing.

Summary:

Pasture seed imported from the United States

The department has assessed the biosecurity risk associated with pasture seed for sowing consignments contaminated with rodent droppings from the United States. Due to Animal Biosecurity risks associated with rodent droppings from the United States, a tolerance level of 0.01% has been set. Additionally, consignments are subject to visual inspection by a biosecurity officer to verify the consignment is not grossly contaminated, and to verify freedom from live rodents. There is no tolerance for consignments detected with live rodents.

Consignments failing to reach this tolerance level must be referred to Plant Import Operations, for a case by case assessment by Animal Biosecurity. Importers are advised that the department is currently unable to provide a defined timeframe for these assessments, and therefore importers are strongly advised to ensure contaminated consignments are not shipped to Australia, until assessment advice is provided from the department.

Pasture seed imported from all other countries (excluding United States)

Any other rodent faecal contamination (from any country, excluding the United States) must be to Plant Import Operations, for a case by case assessment by Animal Biosecurity.

Certification requirements: Where an ISTA laboratory report indicates ‘rodent droppings’ on the certificate, the certificate must state the level of rodent contamination droppings as a percentage.

If the reported percentage is above the tolerance of 0.01% on a seed analysis certificate, consignments must be referred to Plant Import Operations, for a case by case assessment by Animal Biosecurity. Importers are advised that the department is currently unable to provide a defined timeframe for these assessments, and therefore importers are strongly advised to ensure contaminated consignments are not shipped to Australia, until assessment advice is provided. Please note, that the assessment outcome may result in rejection of consignments, and be subject to export or disposal directions (where goods have already landed in Australia).

If the reported percentage is below 0.01% on a seed analysis certificate, consignments will be inspected onshore by a biosecurity officer to verify consignment is not grossly contaminated with droppings, and free from live rodents. There is no tolerance for consignments detected with live rodents.

Consignments with rodent dropping contamination and no ISTA certification: The seed lot will be subject to an onshore sample being drawn in accordance with ISTA methodology and forwarded to a department approved laboratory for purity testing to determine the percentage of rodent droppings. Consignments will be processed as per procedures outlined above.

BICON Case: BICON conditions will be updated to reflect these additional requirements for rodent droppings, pending finalisation of the policy.

Background: For the purposes of biosecurity, contamination risks of imported seed consignments include: soil, live insects/snails, seed species that have been assessed as a weed risk, unidentified seeds, fungal mycelium (sclerotia), animal faecal matter and plant material.

It is an import requirement that imported seed is free of animal faecal contamination, as this contamination poses an unacceptable risk to animals.

Further information: For any enquiries, please contactimports@agriculture.gov.au or call 1800 900 090.

This Alert applies to the following Cases:

  • Lolium spp. seed for sowing
  • Permitted seed for sowing