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24 January 2002
Permits to import unprocessed Royal Jelly are being withdrawn by the Ministry of
Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) following an assessment of the biosecurity risk after
evidence of European Foulbrood disease was found during routine testing in December.
Unprocessed Royal Jelly is a bee secretion commonly used in production of tonics and
health foods. Import of commercially processed products, in capsule form for instance,
Derek Belton, MAF's Director of Animal Biosecurity, says the decision will affect up to
six importers. "We have notified the importers that we are continuing to assess the
risk of the disease being transmitted through Royal Jelly. There is an ongoing process for
developing a rigorous regime of Import Health Standards for bee products and this fits
"It's our job to ensure adequate testing for the risk of any new disease and the
work of our Reference Laboratories in picking up the risk of European Foulbrood - for the
first time - demonstrates the value of the testing regime.
Mr Belton says European Foulbrood is a common disease in most countries of the world.
"New Zealand is one of the few countries that are free of this disease. If the
disease ever got out into New Zealand it would have a significant negative impact on our
honey bee industry".
For further information contact:
Derek Belton, Director, Animal Biosecurity
Direct line: (04) 474 4155 Cell phone: (021) 221 1974 or Stephen Olsen, Communications
Adviser Direct line: (04) 470 2753 Cell phone: (025) 977 028