1.1  General requirements for import inspection

Inspection covers the process for both imports and exports, but does not include activities such as testing or post-entry-quarantine of plants for planting (propagating material). This is covered in Section

This manual is designed so that the biosecurity officer may assemble a set of documents that describe the inspection procedure, irrespective of whether you are:

  • assigned to work at one location (point of entry) like a wharf or airport, or
  • undertaking inspections at a number of locations.

The responsibilities and powers of biosecurity officers are identified and linked to the relevant sections/articles of national legislation.

Import inspection is one of the main operational activities of the official national biosecurity organisation of a country. The purpose is to ensure that the phytosanitary measures that are determined through import risk analysis are met and managed in accordance with the import requirements that have been set out in an import permit (if required) and/or in compliance with phytosanitary legislation.

Inspection procedures begin at the arrival of a commodity at the point of entry and may consist of general procedures that can be applied to a commodity class or be very specific with application to a single commodity or pest or disease.

The requirements for the inspection of commodities that have not been given specific phytosanitary procedures are dealt with under a range of headings that consider the procedure in a chronological sequence from the arrival of the commodity at the point of entry.


  • preliminary activities that need to be completed before you begin the inspection. This may include the collection of inspection and safety equipment prior to all other tasks.


  • the preparation and examination of documents before you begin the inspection of the commodity or goods. This may be at a biosecurity office or at the point of entry.

Inspection procedure:

  • this involves the visual examination of the commodity, procedures to enable the detection of pests and the inspection of detected pests (intercepted pests) in order to determine their identity. The activities include any activities that are required for your own safety in accordance with local requirements.


  • recording of inspection activities that have been conducted, and completion of documentation to record the procedures undertaken and the results obtained, including referrals to other staff for further action. This includes completion of forms that may be a legal requirement and for internal audit.

BASIC REQUIREMENTS: Preparation for inspection:

  • These are the steps that need to be taken for most inspection activities; in fact they should be completed even before the biosecurity officer leaves to undertake the inspection at the point of entry or other location.
Step Procedure

Check documents:

  • the vessel’s manifest – to identify quarantine items
  • the import permit – to get import requirement
2 Check the equipment you will require.  Make sure the equipment functions.
3 Check that you have all the forms required for the seizure/treatment/destruction of pests and consignments, and the schedule of fees.

The next steps depend on:

(a) the location (Airport, Seaport , Transit area, Mail exchange  or Registered premises) and

(b) the type of commodity 

Copyright © 2023. Pacific Community.