A SCIENTIFIC advisory group will independently evaluate how the government has assessed the biosecurity risks posed by imported raw prawns to Australia’s $3.4bn seafood industry.

“Imported raw and uncooked seafood can bring in a range of pests and diseases of biosecurity concern such as white spot syndrome virus and the government is fully committed to protecting our industries from these critical threats,” said agriculture minister David Littleproud.

“Given that white spot has entered Australia previously and continues to cause disruption to Moreton Bay seafood farmers and fishers, the seafood industry must have complete confidence that we have the best possible import requirements in place.”

The independent panel of scientific and technical experts will evaluate whether the conclusions of the review of prawn and prawn products that is currently underway, will protect Australia from the threat of white spot syndrome virus and other significant known and emerging diseases.

The panel will provide its report to Australia’s director of biosecurity.

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“The panel will include individuals with expertise in biosecurity, economic assessment, risk analysis, as well as aquatic animal diseases,” Mr Littleproud said.

“Australia’s enviable biosecurity status underpins our international agricultural trade, however we cannot be complacent when it comes to protecting the health of our food and fibre industries.”

Visit awe.gov.au for more information on current import conditions for uncooked prawns and other prawn products for human consumption and the review of prawns and prawn products.

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