Victorian Government spokespeople have stated that irradiation is increasingly becoming the go-to option for fresh produce exporters. The state has talked up the benefits of the procedure which treats fruit and vegetables for rogue bugs and diseases prior to departure.
Recently, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) announced a new domestic food regulatory measure that permits the use of irradiation as a phytosanitary treatment for all fresh fruit and vegetables (Standard 1.5.3 – Irradiation of food). A growing list of crops including table grapes, mangoes and cherries have all had export success using irradiation as a phytosanitary treatment.
Agriculture Victoria is leading a project in conjunction with Hort Innovation with new research intended to fill gaps in the knowledge regarding pest and disease mortality, impacts on product quality and shelf life, and barriers to market access.
Australian horticultural has traditionally relied on phytosanitary treatments such as cold disinfestation, methyl bromide fumigation and vapor heat, to meet market access requirements for domestic and international trade.
According to a statement from Agriculture Victoria: “Irradiation as a phytosanitary treatment is fast, chemical free, cost-effective and potentially 100 per cent carbon neutral by using renewable energy sources however it is not recognised by many of Australia and New Zealand’s trading partners.”