6 February 2008
This Industry Advice Notice is to inform you of the following:
- the outcomes of a recent meeting with grain packers/exporters, Mr Kevin Humphries MP, National Party member for Barwon NSW, and the NSW Farmers Federation;
- a review of existing sampling methodology for containerised grain in bulk; and
- an interim option available to those operating under full sampling arrangements for grain that will allow inspection of samples drawn from loaded containers.
In October 2006 AQIS issued an industry advice notice (IAN 2006/37) regarding importing country requirements for mandatory fumigation. The notice advised that fumigation must be conducted prior to inspection in order to comply with Australia's international and legislative requirements.
AQIS recently identified a number of grain packers operating under sampling arrangements that had established fumigation practices that did not comply with this requirement.
AQIS NSW advised grain packers/exporters by letter on 18 December 2007, that these practices must not continue and requested industry to submit strategies and timeframes to ensure compliance with Australia's international and legislative requirements.
A meeting was held on 24 January 2008, to discuss the fumigation and inspection of containerised grain with grain packers/exporters, Mr Kevin Humphries MP, National Party member for Barwon NSW, and the NSW Farmers Federation.
The two key outcomes of the meeting were:
1. Containerised Grain Sampling
AQIS acknowledged that there is an issue with the Export Control (Plants and Plant Products) Orders 2005 in relation to drawing samples for phytosanitary inspection from containers. While samples must generally be drawn at the time of loading there are provisions that allow samples to be drawn from loaded containers under certain circumstances.
This practice is permitted at remote locations and when rejected goods are re-presented for inspection following treatment.
AQIS agreed to investigate the current sampling methodology for bulk grain in containers. The Grain and Plant Products Export Program is undertaking a project to establish if there is equivalence between sampling during loading (free flowing grain) as opposed to drawing samples from a loaded container using probes as detailed in schedule 6, part 3 suborder 16.2 of the Export Control (Plants and Plant Products) Orders 2005.
2. Interim Solution for Arrangements
AQIS agreed to an interim solution to allow companies to apply for a variation to existing full sampling arrangements, to enable samples for inspection to be drawn from a loaded container.
Industry should note the following:
- only those that are operating under a full sampling arrangement are able to apply for this interim option;
- a written application must be lodged as described in part 10 of the Export Control (Plants and Plant Products) Orders 2005;
- the application must include sampling procedures as detailed in the Export Control (Plants and Plant Products) Orders 2005, schedule 6, part 3 suborder 16.2;
- the request for variation will only be approved if AQIS is satisfied that the company can demonstrate compliance;
- approval will only be on a trial basis pending the outcome of the sampling equivalence project;
- there is a possibility that the outcome of the sampling equivalence project will result in tightening of the requirements that apply to sampling from loaded containers or the removal of this option; and
- a variation to an existing arrangement can only be applied for under the current form of approved arrangements as this framework will be reviewed in 2008.
For all consignments that are not prepared for export under a sampling arrangement, AQIS will continue to inspect containerised grain at the time of loading as per the legislation.
All applications for variations to existing arrangements are to be lodged with an AQIS regional office.
AQIS Grain & Plant Products Export Program
Contact officer: Leanne Payne
Telephone: 02 6272 3933
Facsimile: 02 6272 5423