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Australia: Former plant protection officer delivers review into potato imports into Tasmania

Approval to grant a South Australian company a licence to import potatoes into Tasmania will remain unchanged following an independent review, according to a report by Caitlin Jarvis of The Exminer.

Jarvis reports that former federal chief plant protection officer and plant pathologist Lois Ransom handed her findings into the controversial decision on Monday. Ms Ransom found the decision to approve a conditional import licence for “ware potatoes” – or potatoes for human consumption – to Mitolo Group was technically sound.

However, she made three recommendations to the state government department to mitigate the biosecurity risk.

All imported potatoes are required to be grown from certified seed to reduce the risk of potato virus y into Tasmania, which is present in South Australia. Retail packs of the potatoes will be labelled “not for planting” to educate consumers about the risks of planting imported produce.

The review also recommended DPIPWE’s statement of reasons “provide greater clarity on the risk of exotic strains of potato virus y and the measures undertaken for its management to ensure appropriate levels of protection.”

DPIPWE Secretary Tim Baker confirmed he had received the review and had accepted all recommendations in full. They will be implemented immediately.

All imported potatoes are required to be grown from certified seed to reduce the risk of potato virus y into Tasmania, which is present in South Australia. Retail packs of the potatoes will be labelled “not for planting” to educate consumers about the risks of planting imported produce.

The review also recommended DPIPWE’s statement of reasons “provide greater clarity on the risk of exotic strains of potato virus y and the measures undertaken for its management to ensure appropriate levels of protection.”

Source: The Examiner. Read the full story here

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