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Alerts provide information about significant changes to import conditions. Keep informed of alerts by following individual import cases.


Rodent dropping contamination tolerance for pasture seed for sowing

Effective from 28 August 2019

The purpose of this notification is to provide updated advice on rodent faecal contamination in imported pasture seed (such as Lolium spp., Festuca spp., Poa spp, Agrostis spp) for sowing – Updated 27 August 2019.

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

Summary:
Pasture seed for sowing imported from the United States
The department has finalised the policy in relation to rodent faecal contamination for consignments of pasture seed for sowing exported from the United States. A tolerance level of up to and including 0.01% has been set to manage animal biosecurity risks associated with rodent droppings from the United States. 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.

Pasture seed imported from all other countries (excluding United States)
Any other rodent faecal contamination (from any country, excluding the United States) must be referred 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.

Seed contaminants and tolerance tables:
The departments webpage for ‘Seed contaminants and tolerance tables’ has been updated to include the approved 0.01% rodent faecal contamination tolerance for seed exported from the United States only.

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 contact imports@agriculture.gov.au or call 1800 900 090.

This Alert applies to the following Cases:


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