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Diagnosis of irradiated insects and fruit (Completed in 2021)

Biosecurity outcome

  • A tool to diagnose if insects discovered in imported fresh produce, and/or the associated host material, have been irradiated, or not, will aid MPI decisions to avoid where possible the unnecessary and costly rejection of fresh produce at border, or the need to recall fresh produce post border. This will also help to test for compliance if at-source procedures come under question and contribute to pathway intelligence.

Science outcome

  • Novel data about DNA irradiation repair times and damage detectability will be developed and reported

Key end users/stakeholders

Implementation:  The protocol and laboratory standards for comet assay will be supplied to MPI-PHEL via an on-site workshop.  MPI-PHEL will then be enabled to use their existing laboratory facilities to incorporate the comet assay as an in-house capability for use when PEQ questions arise as to the implementation of pre-border treatments when high risk pests are found associated with imported products.