Irradiation Facility Audit by Department of Agriculture, Narangba, Queensland
1 – 2 November 2017 Office of Agricultural Affairs participated in the irradiation facility audit at Steritech performed by officers from Department of Agriculture (DOA) and Thailand Institute of Nuclear Technology (Public Organization). The audit was also attended by officers from Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR). Steritech was first established 15 years ago and is located in Narangba, a city near Brisbane, Queensland. It is the one and only facility in Australia irradiating fresh produces for export. Cobalt-60 is the source for generating gamma ray. Australian irradiated produces are currently exported to the US, New Zealand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.
Beehives, rodent baits and medical devices are also treated at the facility. The audit constitutes a part of DOA’s import permission for persimmons from Australia into Thailand. The Thai auditors observed actual irradiation conducted on mangoes for export to the US. Australian government inspectors randomly collected mangoes samples on site for insect inspection prior to treatment. The sampling plan used must be in accordance with the protocol established between Australia and specific trading partner. For the US market, pallets remained inside a mesh throughout irradiation and until delivery to final destination. A cold storage is located next to the irradiation unit to ensure cold supply chain management. If the audit is found in compliance with DOA’s requirements, Australia will be approved for export irradiated persimmons to Thailand in the next season which will begin early 2018.