NZ: Possible lifting of import ban on pork
Plans to relax import rules for some uncooked pork
from countries with outbreaks of pig diseases have been announced yesterday by
the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry's biosecurity
Four draft import health standards were put forward for consultation
regarding pigmeat imported from the European Union, Canada, the US and Mexico.
Around 42% of pork sold in New Zealand is imported, but only from countries
where the pigmeat is treated if outbreaks of pig disease had occurred there.
Based on a five-year risk analysis for porcine reproductive and respiratory
(PRRS) virus in countries outside
of New Zealand and Australia, the new standards were requested by exporting
countries. Pig farmers, however, were opposed to the standards because of
concerns that potentially infected uncooked pork could be fed to 'backyard pigs'
in the countries in question.
A proposal by the Ministry of Agriculture involves permitting imported pork
that has not been treated if it is in a ready-to-cook form or can be immediately
processed into this form.
According to Tim Knox, director of border
standards, Biosecurity New Zealand, "the virus is very unlikely to be present in
imported ready-to-cook cuts as European studies have proved that around 99% of
the PRRS virus is destroyed by normal commercial preparation of pork for
Public submissions on the issue will be considered until February 18, 2008 as
the consultation period has been extended for 90 days due to major concerns over
the issue among pig farmers.
â€¢ Ministry of Agriculture and
Forestry, New Zealand
â€¢ Biosecurity New Zealand
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