STC Number - 229

Import restrictions on Enoki mushrooms

Maintained by: Canada
Raised by: Chinese Taipei
Supported by:
First date raised: October 2005 G/SPS/R/39, paras. 36-38
Dates subsequently raised: April 2008 (G/SPS/R/49, paras. 59-60)
Number of times subsequently raised: 1
Relevant documents: Raised orally
Products covered: 06 Live trees and other plants; bulbs, roots and the like; cut flowers and ornamental foliage; 0602 Other live plants (including their roots), cuttings and slips; mushroom spawn.
Primary subject keyword: Plant Health
Keywords: International Standards / Harmonization; Plant health; Risk assessment
Status: Resolved
Solution: Canada had lifted its ban with effect from January 2007. Following the visit of Canadian officials to Chinese Taipei, import permits had been issued during 2007 and Enoki mushrooms were now being imported into Canada.
Date reported as resolved: 02/04/2008

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In February 2006, Chinese Taipei noted that in January 2005 Canada had banned imports of Enoki mushrooms with trace amounts of growing medium. Canada required that all growing medium be removed by cutting off the stalk of the mushroom, but this significantly reduced the shelf-life of the mushroom. In March 2005, Canada had justified this new measure by explaining that the growing medium used for Enoki mushroom cultivation could be a pathway for the introduction of quarantine pests designated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, such as sudden oak death or the golden nematode. These quarantine pests did not exist in Chinese Taipei. Furthermore, Enoki mushrooms were produced in Chinese Taipei under soil-free conditions. Chinese Taipei considered that Canada's restrictions were more trade restrictive than necessary and urged Canada to lift its import ban on Enoki mushrooms.
Canada clarified that, historically, Chinese Taipei's mushrooms were free from growing medium and had been imported into Canada without restriction. In 2004, shipments of Enoki mushrooms accompanied by a significant amount of growing material had been intercepted. Consistent with the provisions of the IPPC, Canada had provided Chinese Taipei's officials with several official notifications of non-compliance, including a written explanation of the scientific rationale for prohibiting the entry of Enoki mushrooms accompanied by growing medium. Canada was waiting for scientific information on the type of pests that might be carried by the medium from Chinese Taipei in order to conclude a risk assessment. The current science-based requirements would remain in place until Canada had assurance that the growing medium would not carry plant pest risks to Canada.
In April 2008, Chinese Taipei reported that the issue of Canada's restrictions on the importation of Enoki mushrooms had been resolved. Since this issue was first raised, there had been constructive technical dialogue on several occasions. Scientific evidence and information on pest risk assessment had been provided, and Canada had undertaken on-site inspections. Consequently Canada had lifted its ban with effect from January 2007.
Canada confirmed that this issue had been resolved due to a close collaborative working relationship between technical officials. Following the visit of Canadian officials to Chinese Taipei, import permits had been issued during 2007 and Enoki mushrooms were now being imported into Canada.