Review of import conditions for brassicaceous vegetable seeds for sowing
We have completed a review of import conditions for brassicaceous vegetable seeds for sowing.
When we conduct a review of import conditions, we:
- review the science on pests of concern
- assess and analyse biosecurity risks
- develop risk management measures, if required
- consult the public on the draft report and then review comments
- publish the final report
- publish import conditions in our Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON)
About the review
Australia relies on imported seeds to produce a wide range of crops, including vegetables. Large quantities of these seeds are imported annually.
The distribution of pathogens (which cause disease) associated with seed is expanding across the world and new biosecurity risks continue to emerge. The trade in vegetable seeds has become globalised with seed being commercially developed, multiplied and processed across various countries instead of within a single country. Therefore, the risk of seeds being exposed to new pathogens, as well as the risk that these pathogens may enter Australia via imported seeds, has increased.
The increased biosecurity risk associated with imported seed prompted us to review the import conditions for vegetable seeds that are imported for sowing.
We initiated a review of four vegetable seed policies, which was funded under the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper. The four vegetable families being reviewed are: Apiaceae (e.g. carrot, celery and parsnip), Brassicaceae (e.g. broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower), Cucurbitaceae (e.g. cucumber, melon, pumpkin) and Solanaceae (e.g. capsicum, eggplant and tomato).
The review of brassicaceous vegetable seeds is the first of the four vegetable families to be finalised.
Brassicaceous vegetable crops include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, mustard, radish, rocket, turnip, wasabi, and watercress.
Summary of the final report
Seeds of most brassicaceous vegetable species are not hosts of pathogens that are of biosecurity concern to Australia and therefore, do not require additional biosecurity measures. Instead, these species will continue to be subject to the department’s standard import conditions for seeds for sowing.
Seeds of some brassicaceous vegetable species are hosts to pathogens that are of biosecurity concern and therefore, imported seeds of these species require additional biosecurity measures to manage the risk:
|Vegetable species||Biosecurity measures|
|Fungicide1||Heat2||Testing3||Heat + Testing4|
|Brassica rapa (e.g. turnips and bok choy)|
|Raphanus sativus (e.g. radish)|
|Eruca vesicaria (e.g. rocket)|
1. fungicide treatment to manage Colletotrichum higginsianum and Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. raphani
2. heat treatment to manage Colletotrichum higginsianum only
3. seed testing to detect the presence of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. raphani (using a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test) to help manage the risk
4. a combination of heat treatment and PCR testing to manage Colletotrichum higginsianum and Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. raphani.
Seeds, of the three vegetable species mentioned above, are exempt from the additional biosecurity measures if:
- the seeds are intended for producing sprouts or micro-greens for human consumption, and
- the seeds are germinated in an Approved Arrangement facility to ensure the seeds are not directed for other uses.
If the additional biosecurity measures are undertaken in the exporting country, imported seed must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate declaring that the biosecurity measure was conducted in accordance with Australia’s requirements.
Your feedback on the draft report
Appendix 2 of the final report provides a summary of key technical comments raised by stakeholders and how they were considered.
Appendix 3 of the final report provides details of how we considered the alternative management options proposed by stakeholders.
A number of changes were made to the risk analysis following comments submitted by stakeholders and a review of scientific literature. These changes include:
- The inclusion of other pest risk management options (heat treatment and PCR testing) that are suitable for both organic and non-organic (seed) industries.
- The removal of measures previously proposed for Brassica oleracea (includes broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower) due to insufficient evidence of it being a possible host for the pathogen Colletotrichum higginsianum.
Download the final report
|Final review of import conditions for brassicaceous vegetable seeds for sowing PDF||178||3.1 MB|
|Final review of import conditions for brassicaceous vegetable seeds for sowing DOCX||178||1.3 MB|
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We released the draft report of the review of brassicaceous vegetable seeds for sowing on 14 February 2018, for a 60 calendar day public consultation period, which closed on 19 April 2018.
Brassicaceous vegetable industry
Australian producers rely on the overseas supply of seeds for brassicaceous vegetable production. In 2017–18, Australia’s production of main brassicaceous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower) was valued at $337.1 million.
The gross value of production figures for brassicaceous vegetables for 2017–2018 are:
- Broccoli—$229.8 million
- Brussels sprouts—$18.3 million
- Cabbage—$41.6 million
- Cauliflower—$47.4 million
The gross value of Australian horticultural agriculture was $13.2 billion in 2017-2018, with vegetables accounting for $4.3 billion.
The value of fresh vegetable exports in 2017-2018 was $255.2 million.
Source: Horticulture Innovation Australia—Australia Horticulture Statistics Handbook (2017–18).
We will implement the revised import conditions in the Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON) in a phased approach.
On 5 December 2019 (Phase 1), the following import conditions will come into effect:
- Broad spectrum fungicide treatment for Brassica rapa, Eruca vesicaria and Raphanus sativus
- Heat treatment for Brassica rapa
- Approved Arrangement options for Brassica rapa, Eruca vesicaria and Raphanus sativus only if they are being imported for sprouting or microgreen production
When polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing becomes available, the following import conditions (Phase 2) will come into effect:
- PCR testing for Eruca vesicaria
- Heat treatment and PCR testing for Raphanus sativus
An overview of the implementation of revised import conditions is available below.
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For more information, email imports or phone 1800 900 090 (option 1, option 1).