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Import Decision Disappoints

Import Decision Disappoints

New Zealand’s bee industry is very disappointed in a new import health standard that will allow Australian honey potentially carrying bee disease into New Zealand, said Lin McKenzie, chair of the New Zealand Bee Industry Group.

Mr McKenzie’s comments follow Biosecurity New Zealand yesterday issuing a new import health standard for honey and bee-related products from Australia.

The standard allows heat treatment as a risk management measure for European Foulbrood (EFB), a bee disease not present in New Zealand.

“From the outset we have questioned the science in relation to heat treatment of EFB. We still seriously question it.

“Biosecurity New Zealand states that heat treatment of honey leads to a 99.999 percent reduction in EFB.

“This percentage is misleading. It is based on a study which took the average amount of EFB in a range of Australian honey. It did not examine honey with significantly greater amounts of the EFB organism,” said Mr McKenzie.

“Added to this is the fact that Biosecurity New Zealand doesn’t know how much EFB is needed to infect a honey bee colony.

“Another significant bee disease would be devastating for the bee industry. The flow on effects for the horticultural and pastoral sectors, which rely on bees for pollination, would also be significant,” Mr McKenzie said.

The New Zealand Bee Industry Group is part of Federated Farmers of New Zealand.


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