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Development of Generic Irradiation Doses for Quarantine Treatments

Regulatory authorities and scientists from many internationally recognised institutions have studied research data on the effectiveness of irradiation as a quarantine treatment against a large range of insect pest species infecting various fruits and vegetables. These authorities have concluded that generic doses are possible, negating the need to develop or validate specific irradiation doses tailored to individual arthropod species.

In 2003, the International Plant Protection Convention approved the  International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures “Guidelines for the Use of Irradiation as a Phytosanitary Measure” (ISPM 18), which facilitated the start of international trade in irradiated fresh fruits between countries such as Australia and New Zealand in 2005 and between India and the United States in 2006.

Despite these successes, important gaps in knowledge still remain and a previous CRP on “Irradiation as a Phytosanitary Treatment of Food and Agricultural Commodities” recommended that generic doses for major arthropod groups be investigated. There are a number of other critical pests of quarantine significance from non-fruit fly species and comparatively little research has been performed on their susceptibility to inactivation by irradiation. These include mites, thrips, mealybugs, weevils, leaf miners, aphids and scale insects.

This Coordinated Research Project will establish validated irradiation doses for such non-fruit fly species of quarantine significance. The project results will strengthen existing irradiation standards developed by the International Plant Protection Convention, thereby facilitating international trade for various fruit, vegetable and other commodities through the use of generic irradiation doses for a wide range of quarantine pests.

This CRP is managed by the Food and Environment Protection Subprogramme of the Joint FAO/IAEA division, in conjunction with technical support from the Insect and Pest Control Subprogramme.