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Raw pork import raises foot and mouth risk

by 5m Editor
10 May 2006, at 12:00am

NEW ZEALAND - National questioned the effectiveness of New Zealand's border control yesterday following an illegal shipment of raw pork from Korea.

National Party biosecurity spokesman Shane Ardern told Parliament that it took nearly a month for the public to be told about the shipment and the issue raised concerns about foot and mouth getting into New Zealand through such lapses.

Biosecurity NZ has said only a small portion of the shipment of six tonnes of meat which came into New Zealand last month contained raw pork.

Raw meat imports from many countries to New Zealand are restricted to avoid importing catastrophic animal diseases such as foot-and-mouth, swine fever and hog cholera.

The pork – imported from Korea between August and December 2005 – was discovered at Auckland during routine surveillance of food distributors and retailers by quarantine staff at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) who were looking for prohibited goods.

Further checks found it had been distributed throughout the country, including to Christchurch, Hamilton, Tauranga and Wellington, and since the problem was publicised in April members of the public have alerted officials to other parts of the shipment.

Minister for Biosecurity Jim Anderton said New Zealand border control was tight and MAF provided a second line of defence as it checked retail outlets for prohibited meat products.

"One of those inspections uncovered the raw Korean pork. I understand that Korea is considered foot-and-mouth disease-free, following successful eradication of an outbreak a few years ago, so the risks associated with the raw pork are considered negligible."

Source: Stuff.co.nz

5m Editor