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Treating your fruit right: Mango treatment verification

5 months ago

Image: CYBERTONGUE® unit next to a laptop

It’s not an Australian summer without a fresh tray of mangoes and ice-cold fruit smoothies. The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and CSIRO are exploring how to rapidly verify that imported mangoes have been properly treated to protect Australia’s fruit industry.

This means Australians will continue to enjoy plenty of fresh mangoes in the future.

In 2016, the department commissioned CSIRO to look into how emerging technologies could help us improve our biosecurity system. One idea that came out of this was the irradiation verification project.

The project uses CSIRO-developed CYBERTONGUE® technology. It’s a fast and reliable way to determine if suppliers have treated fresh mangoes in compliance with Australia’s import requirements and our strict, food safety laws.

CYBERTONGUE® technology has the potential to be used at the border to measure treatment by irradiation and therefore compliance for this kind of treatment. Future applications could use the treatment verification for other types of fruit as well.

Alisha Anderson, Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO, said the study demonstrates that CYBERTONGUE® technology, which CSIRO recently licensed to Australian start-up PPB Technology, has applications beyond the dairy industry where it is currently being commercialised.

‘It’s exciting to see CYBERTONGUE® being trialled for verifying treatment, which is a new application of this technology. It could transform our ability to confirm the treatment status of fresh fruit,’ said Dr Anderson.

Fresh fruit poses a high biosecurity risk as it can carry a range of pests and diseases. It is important that fresh fruit imports comply with biosecurity treatment standards.

At the moment, there is no way to rapidly check if a piece of fruit has been irradiated to the correct standard. Compliance is assessed using paper certificates, which can be difficult to confirm or audit.

This new development could reshape how the department checks imports at the border.

Find out more about Australia’s import conditions.

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