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APAL begins review of US Apple Import Risk Assessment

Export & Market Access

Adelaide Hills apple farmer Joe Ceravolo is concerned about the biosecurity risk imported apples could pose to his business. Image: ABC Rural: Cassandra Hough.

APAL’s US Apples Access working group has begun its detailed review of the 400page report released by the Department Agriculture Water and Environment last Friday that could pave the way for the import of US apples into Australia. 

APAL’s Technical Manager Rose Danielbiosecurity expert Kevin Clayton-Greene and APAL’s Head of Trade Jenny Van de Meeberg are leading the working group to prepare APAL’s response to the report. 

“At this stage we are meticulously reviewing the full list of identified pests and checking what level of risk the Department has applied to each of the pests,” Rose said. “We are then looking at the safeguards that have been proposed to address the risks. It will take at least several weeks to complete this process and I expect we will need to seek further clarification from Government on several aspects.” 

Kevin Clayton-Greene has been through this process before for various commodities and crops.  

Each import access request is unique – and we have to consider the range and prevalence of pests in the export country, the risk these pests pose to Australian pome fruit and whether the proposed measures are effective and reliable,”  Kevin said. 

For example NZ has import access for apples and has a number of pests in common with the US, but that doesn’t mean the frequency of outbreaks or their local biosecurity regimes are the same so we need to make sure we address the specific risks presented by US imports.”

Jenny Van de Meeberg said APAL’s submission must address the science.  

“Our submission needs to objectively assess the biosecurity risks and the proposed measures Its not an opportunity to reject imports for purely commercial reasons,” she said. 

Rose confirmed: “Once we get through this first phase of reviewing the report we will have a clearer picture of the areas where we need further advice and input from industry and this is expected to include evidence and examples of measures and treatments that can and can’t, do and don’t work.  

APAL also intends to work with state associations across Australia. 

Strong media interest reinforces the concerns of the industry and Australian consumers. 

“This issue impacts every state and every producer so its vital we present a wellconsidered and informed response to Government to assist their assessment of this request,” Rose said. 

The report and further information is available here

Click here for the ABC’s report on the issue.

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