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THE DEPARTMENT of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry is launching a pest risk analysis to assess the biosecurity risks of the khapra beetle and to ensure that the measures in place provide appropriate protection.

The khapra beetle (Trogoderma granarium) infests stored produce, such as grains, oilseeds, rice and dried foodstuffs. The beetle eats the produce, making it unfit for humans to eat. Populations expand quickly in hot conditions.

The creature is native to India, but it has spread to the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe. It is not present in Australia. But, it poses a major threat to grain, rice and nut industries.

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DAFF said several countries, including Australia, have seen a recent increase in detections of khapra beetle in imported plant products and as a hitchhiker pest of sea containers.

“In September 2020, we introduced emergency measures (also called urgent actions) to address the risks of khapra beetle,” DAFF said.

“More information on the emergency measures is found at urgent actions to protect against khapra beetle.”

DAFF said the pest risk analysis would assess the current measures, consider necessary ongoing phytosanitary measures and ensure that any ongoing measures are scientifically justified.

A draft pest risk analysis report is expected to be released for public consultation early next year.

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