Interim quarantine measures

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Attachment to BAA 2008/30

Interim quarantine measures for the importation of prawns and prawn products for human consumption

These quarantine requirements apply to the importation of prawns and prawn products for human consumption (other than shelf-stable prawn-based food products1), and are issued under the authority of Quarantine Proclamation 1998.

Note: Imported food, including prawns and prawn products must comply with the Imported Food Control Act 1992 and the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (FSC) in its entirety. Under the Imported Food Control Act 1992, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) may inspect, or inspect and analyse imported prawns and prawn products to determine compliance with the FSC. These food safety and labelling requirements are separate from, and additional to, Australian quarantine requirements. Information on the FSC may be obtained from Food Standards Australia New Zealand website.

1. Import Permit

The importer must obtain a permit to import all uncooked prawns and prawn products into Australia for human consumption from AQIS, before the goods are imported.

The application to import must include:

  • the name and address of the importer and exporter; and
  • a description of the commodity to be imported.

The application will be assessed on the above information as well as any other criteria deemed relevant by the Australian Director of Animal and Plant Quarantine.

Cooked prawns and prawn products do not require an import permit but will be required to meet conditions that will be specified in the Quarantine Proclamation 1998 (see point 3).

2. Uncooked prawns

2.1  All imported uncooked prawns must:

  • be sourced from a country or zone that is recognised by Australia to be free of ALL the following pathogenic agents:

- White spot syndrome virus (WSSV)
- Yellowhead virus (YHV)
- Taura syndrome virus (TSV);

OR

  • be highly processed, i.e.: the head and shell removed (last shell segment and tail fans permitted) and;

- coated for human consumption by being breaded (crumbed) or battered, or
- coated for human consumption by being marinated in a wet marinade (the marinade must be no less than 12 per cent of the total weight of the product), or
- coated for human consumption by being marinated in a dry marinade (the marinade must be clearly seen to cover the product), or
- coated for human consumption by being marinated and placed on skewers (the marinade must be clearly seen to cover the product), or
- the raw prawn meat processed into dumpling, spring roll, samosa, roll, ball or dim sum-type product,

OR

  • have had the head and shell removed (last shell segment and tail fans permitted) and each batch tested on arrival in Australia and found to be free of WSSV and YHV.

Batch testing for a pathogenic agent does not occur if sourced from a country or zone recognised by Australia to be free of that agent.

Testing is based on the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests in the current version of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Manual of Diagnostic Tests for Aquatic Animals or equivalent, and a sampling regimen that would provide 95 per cent confidence of detecting the agent if present at 5 per cent prevalence.

All consignments of prawns to be tested will be held under quarantine control in Australia where they will be sampled for testing. Prawns will remain under quarantine control until the results of the tests are available. Batches that return positive results must be re exported, destroyed or further processed (i.e. cooked) in a facility approved by AQIS for that purpose.

For the purpose of this testing, a batch is defined as a population from a different pond population or fishing period population. Documentation from the exporter, supplier or Competent Authority verifying the number of batches in the consignment must be provided to AQIS. This documentation must clearly detail the labelling of each batch in the consignment. If the number of batches cannot be determined from documentation, full unpacking and inspection may be required in order to determine the number of batches.

2.2 For all uncooked prawns and prawn products (including those that are considered to be highly processed, as defined in Section 2.1), the Competent Authority in the exporting country must certify that the prawns or prawn products:

  • are fit for human consumption, and
  • have been processed, inspected and graded in premises approved by and under the control of the Competent Authority, and
  • are free from visible signs of infectious disease.

In addition, for uncooked prawns that are not considered to be highly processed (as defined in Section 2.1), the Competent Authority must certify that:

  • each package is marked with the words ‘for human consumption only — not to be used as bait or feed for aquatic animals’.

2.3 Uncooked prawns that are considered to be highly processed (as defined in Section 2.1) will be randomly inspected by AQIS to ensure the imported commodity complies with the product description on the import permit and health certificate.

3. Cooked prawns

For cooked prawns and prawn products, the Competent Authority in the exporting country must certify that the prawns or prawn products:

  • are fit for human consumption, and
  • have been cooked in a premises approved by and under the control of the Competent Authority to a minimum time and temperature standard2 where all the protein in the prawn is coagulated and no raw meat remains.

4. Review

Conditions for importation may be reviewed if there are any changes in the source country’s import policy or its animal disease status, or at any time at the discretion of the Australian Director of Animal and Plant Quarantine.


1 Shelf-stable prawn-based food products include dried prawns, canned prawns or condiments containing prawns as an ingredient (e.g. prawn balachan).

2 To comply with a minimum time and temperature standard the core temperature of the prawn or prawn product must reach 75°C for a specified time depending on the size of the prawn. Smaller grade prawns (66/88 pieces per kilogram) must be cooked for a minimum of 2 minutes at a core temperature of 75°C or equivalent time and temperature. Medium grade prawns (44/66 pieces per kilogram) must be cooked for a minimum of 2 minutes 15 seconds at a core temperature of 75°C or equivalent time and temperature. Larger grade prawns (35/44 pieces per kilogram) must be cooked for a minimum of 3 minutes at a core temperature of 75°C or equivalent time and temperature.</< P>