MAF to defend Import Health Standards for pork imports

25 May 2011

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) will be defending in court its decision to allow the importation of fresh uncooked pork from Canada, the EU, Mexico and the USA.

The New Zealand Pork Industry Board (NZPork) is challenging MAF's decision to issue four updated Import Heath Standards for pig meat, pig meat products and by-products, which permit importation of consumer-ready cuts of uncooked pork from countries where the disease Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) is present.

Today the High Court continued an order granting NZPork interim relief to prohibit the importation of fresh uncooked pork while the matter is before the courts. MAF is considering whether to appeal the decision.

MAF Deputy Director-General Standards Carol Barnao says it is important to understand that the decision is not a final assessment of the substantive case, which is still to be presented and will be determined in Court.

"MAF will be vigorously defending our decision to issue the standards, and is considering whether to appeal today's High Court judgment to continue the order granting NZPork interim relief," she says.

"Our primary concern in considering the request for pork meat to be granted access into New Zealand has been to ensure the risk of unwanted pests or diseases – such as PRRS – establishing in New Zealand are effectively managed. Our decision to issue these standards was only made after years of assessing all available science and carrying out a comprehensive risk assessment process, which showed us that the risks from PRRS can be effectively managed through the risk management measures outlined in the standards."

These measures include restricting imports of fresh uncooked pork to cuts that have the lymph nodes removed and weigh no more than 3kg.

A copy of MAF's submissions to the High Court interim relief hearing is available on request.

Documents explaining the decision to issue the Import Health Standards and associated rationale can be found at: http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/regs/imports/ihs/provisional/pig-meat-ihs-review

Issued by:
Helen Keyes, Acting Corporate Communications Manager
Telephone: 04-894 0161 or 029-894 0161
Email: helen.keyes@maf.govt.nz

 

Last Updated: 27 May 2011

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