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17 February 1999
A major analysis of the potential disease risk from proposed importationsof chicken meat is nearing completion.
The risk analysis was undertaken by the Ministry of Agriculture andForestry following requests from the United States and the European Union to exportchicken meat to New Zealand says MAF's Chief Veterinary Officer, Barry O'Neil.
"Before Christmas the MAF risk analysis was sent to 14 recognisedexperts for critical scientific review. The reviewers' reports are being studied now, andthe risk analysis is being revised in light of the expert's comments," Dr O'Neilsaid.
MAF's Agricultural Securitynational manager Stuart MacDiarmid, who heads the team carrying out the chicken meat riskanalysis, said the analysis identifies those diseases of humans, domestic poultry or wildbirds which might be introduced in imported chicken meat. The analysis would also, ifpossible, propose appropriate safeguards to prevent the introduction of those diseases.
People involved in the local poultry industry and those concerned aboutNew Zealand's native bird populations have expressed fears that allowing chicken meatimports could lead to the introduction of diseases, however, Dr MacDiarmid said that thenation's biosecurity would not be jeopardised by such trade as importation would only bepermitted if it does not threaten New Zealand's native birds or domestic poultry industry.
Current Government policy is that imports should be permitted except wheretrade could lead to the introduction of diseases.
Once the reviewers' comments are addressed, the analysis will be availablefor public comment, which is expected to be at the end of February.
For further information contact:
Stuart MacDiarmid, MAF AgriculturalSecurity national manager, ph: 04 474 8223.