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Inspection and clearance of amnesty bins

The analysis of the contents of the amnesty bins located at international aiports after the arrival of each international flight is one of those activities under quarantine surveillance aimed to assist in the early detection of entry of any unwanted exotic pests and diseases, e.g. fruit flies, taro leaf blight, swine fever.

Voluntary surrender of fresh fruits, vegetables and other plant/animal products into an amnesty bin is a painless way of gaining co-operation from the public.

Contents of the amnesty bins are sampled regularly by biosecurity officers and research personnel to determine the origin of the fresh produce, the amount of each type of produce, and the incidence of fruit flies and other pests and diseases.

All quarantine amnesty bin contents are of high sanitary and phytosanitary risk, so people handling these materials should ensure high quarantine security is maintained throughout the activity.

Information obtained is used to profile airline routes and to define the level of risk posed by passengers from particular airports and hence to determine the percentage of baggage inspection from these routes.

1 – 5 Refer to Basic Requirements
6 A new plastic garbage bag must be placed into each amnesty bin before the arrival of each flight.
7 After the last passenger has exited the arrival concourse, the plastic garbage bag containing the amnesty bin deposits must be removed from the bin using gloves. It must be securely closed, and taken to the biosecurity office at the airport, where plant/plant products are then separated from animal products and recorded.
Animal Products
8 Analysis of animal products is a very costly exercise. However, for the purpose of surveillance for early detection (entrance) of any unwanted animal diseases or for profiling purposes, biosecurity officers at the border can either carry out a general visual analysis, recording the type and source of the products deposited, noting any suspected disease symptoms and, if possible, taking digital images and sending them for proper identification before the products are incinerated, or they can just collect and incinerate
Plant/ plant products
9 Plants/plant products are labelled with their particulars, placed in the secure container/eski and directly transported to the laboratory without any stoppage or diversion to any other venue other then the laboratory.
10 Where flights arrive within less than one hour of each other, the amnesty bin should be cleared only after the last passenger of the last flight has exited the arrival concourse. In this case, the amnesty bin contents will be a combination from all the flights and should be analysed as such.  The assessments carried out on the several flights will be done on the basis of the likelihood a particular commodity being brought in from a particular country.
11 The amnesty bin in transit lounges (if any) should be cleared after the departure of each flight and the data collected recorded against the most recently arrived and cleared flight. However, where it is logistically not possible to keep track of passengers arriving and departing through the transit lounge, it would be advisable to clear the amnesty bins in the transit lounge at the end of each day. The data collected in this case can be recorded as a composite of the flights arriving that day. The plastic bags containing the amnesty bin contents are taken straight to the laboratory, sorted into prescribed groups – item categories (see below), and the appropriate data are collected.
12 Efforts should be made to clear/analyse the amnesty bin contents within 48 hours.  
13 All material collected from the amnesty bins must be disposed of properly (incinerated) by a biosecurity officer after the observations have been completed. In cases where the laboratory is not an accredited quarantine facility, arrangements will be made with the local biosecurity service to maintain the quarantine security of the laboratory facility at all times during the inspection.
14 Fruit fly host species (fruits and vegetables) should be incubated in the secured laboratory for at least 14 days to observe any developments of larvae of fruit flies. Any fruit fly adult obtained shall be fed water and sugar for three days from the time of emergence, after which the flies are killed immediately. The dead adults are then identified by technical experts in-country or sent overseas.  Procedures for incubation and assessment of fruit fly host species will be provided by local technical experts on fruit flies.
15 Other pests intercepted during the course of the activity should be forwarded to the appropriate technical experts in-country for identification.
16 Animal products collected from the amnesty bin should be transferred to another garbage bag and taken straight away to the incinerator for incineration. See 3 above.
17 Note the date, flight no., name of carrier, port and country of departure, no. of disembarking passengers, no. of transit passengers and no. of crew.
Details of Amnesty Bin content
18 Count of category of disposed item: broad category – agricultural produce or not agricultural: agricultural produce further divided into fresh produce, seed, meat, dairy products, fruit host materials, etc. – full categories can be agreed on with the biosecurity officer.
 19 Quantity measurement

Weigh certain products such as meat, seeds, fresh produce.

Count other items, such as wooden items, plant products and non-agricultural items.

Fruit fly host species  
 20 The following information must be recorded for fruit fly host items intercepted in the amnesty bins: host name, no. of fruits sampled, total number of fruits, weight of sampled fruits and total weight of fruits. Records should be taken of the conditions of incubation and length of incubation period, the date of emergence of any fruit flies from the fruits, the number of adults and type or species of fruit fly (if known). Any organisms intercepted directly from the amnesty bin or immersing out of the suspect fruits during the lab incubation must also be identified.
  Equipment and consumables
 21 PVC or plastic gloves, black plastic garbage bags, one large cooler (eski) for carry bags from the airport to the laboratory, stationery, hand lens, knife, stick-on labels, paper towels and laboratory space fruit for incubation.


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