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The rough end of the pineapple: the sometimes prickly relationship between science and policy.

Anthony Young: The University of Queensland

<div>A key component of food security is the restriction of movement of plant pathogens. The goal of maintaining area freedom from plant diseases can sometimes be compromised by trade decisions that are made with limited reference to the scientific community. When this happens, primary industries are put at risk of incursion events. This presentation focuses on lessons gleaned from the interaction between Australian biosecurity agencies and scientific agencies. Specifically, it investigates the role of an incomplete bacteriological nomenclature when assessing the import risks of pineapples into the Australian market. Using a dated and incomplete taxonomic framework, Australian biosecurity agencies claimed that the bacterium that causes heart rot of pineapples in Malaysia (now known to be specific strains of <em>Dickeya zeae</em>), was already present in Australia, where it caused bacterial mottle in sugarcane, nominally caused by <em>Pectobacterium chrysanthemi</em>. Although this was a clear case of the scientific nomenclature lagging behind scientific knowledge, this demonstrates the need for greater integration between policy makers and the scientific community, and the need to ensure that the best possible scientific evidence is incorporated into the decision making framework. This presentation discusses improvements that can be made in international trade in agricultural products.</div>

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