New quarantine treatments for fresh fruits exported to Asia

Taiwan was a multi-million dollar market for a large range of Australian fruits but market access for all known hosts of the Queensland fruit fly was suddenly stopped a year ago. This caused significant losses to Australia’s local cherry and summerfruit industries and placed an extra burden on domestic market prices.

Research Horticulturist Andrew Jessup and his team at Gosford are conducting research to find quarantine treatments that can be applied to ensure exported fruits are free of Queensland fruit fly.

The team is developing methods of cold disinfestation that can be applied during shipment of cherries, plums and nectarines to Taiwan.

This complements work the team was already conducting to establish market access for table grapes and red-fleshed grapefruits to Japan.

Cold disinfestation is a delicate balance between ensuring that any flies or larvae that may be within the fruits are killed and ensuring that the fruit itself is not damaged by chilling injury.

The temperature and the duration of the treatment required may be different for each commodity.

However, Mr Jessup said that because his experimental protocol is based on the very strict Japanese Minimum Requirements, evidence collected for access to one market can also be used to initiate Market Access proposals for the same fruits to Korea, China and other markets.

The final stage of the work is to prepare full export submissions for consideration by the quarantine authorities of our trading partners.

If these countries accept that produce treated by these means pose no risk then market access for Australian fruits will be ensured.