FAQs related to Importing Marine Fisheries Products for human consumption from all countries
Biosecurity New Zealand is very aware of the seriousness of European Foulbrood and other bee diseases not present in New Zealand, and the potential impact on our beekeeping industry if they became established here. Biosecurity New Zealand has analysed the risks associated with honey imports using the same robust, internationally recognised process it uses for any other category of biosecurity risk goods. This risk analysis, which was peer-reviewed by international experts in bee diseases, concluded that risks could be effectively managed.
The risk analysis process has extended over five years. Evidence was collated from:
- peer-reviewed journals and other respected publications
- consulting with experts both locally and internationally
- new cutting-edge research.
Issues raised by stakeholders and any new information is considered on an on-going basis.
The Australian Government has been requesting access for its honey since the late 1980s, so this is not a new request. New Zealand is a signatory to trade agreements which say we cannot prohibit imports unless there is a valid biosecurity reason for preventing them We expect other countries to accept our exports on the same terms.
Bee products eligible for import from Australia under the new IHS are: foundation beeswax; honey; raw beeswax; pollen in bulk form; raw propolis and royal jelly in bulk form. These products must be certified by the Australian government as having met specified sanitary requirements. Highly processed bee products from Australia are covered in an existing import health standard for bee products.
European Foulbrood is a bacterial disease of bees caused by Melissococcus pluton. It is not present in New Zealand, but is found in many other beekeeping countries. European Foulbrood does not form spores, but can be spread on bee products and beekeeping equipment. European Foulbrood is often considered internationally as a ‘stress’ disease - a disease that is usually not fatal to a colony unless the colony is already under stress for other reasons. Healthy colonies usually survive European Foulbrood. Overseas, outbreaks are controlled chemically by feeding antibiotics to infected colonies.
American Foulbrood is a bacterial disease of bees caused by a strain of the spore-forming bacteria Paenibacillus larvae. This organism has been present in New Zealand since 1877 and is under a national control programme. American Foulbrood affects developing bees and infected colonies often die. It is spread mainly by the movement of beekeeping equipment and by bees moving between colonies, but also by bee products. Beekeepers can reduce the impact of the disease to below economically significant levels by following good management practices.
Import health standards are constantly reviewed in the light of new information such as changing disease status in exporting countries, changes in international standards and latest research findings. For example, Biosecurity New Zealand became aware of the possibility of Nosema ceranae, a newly identified bee parasite that is linked to bee diseases in Europe, being introduced into New Zealand. Biosecurity New Zealand investigated this possibility and a technical report was completed. The conclusion of this technical report was that there was sufficient uncertainty regarding this organism to include temporary measures in the import health standard for bee products from Australia.
No. New Zealand does not engage in reciprocal deals on biosecurity. While New Zealand depends on its agricultural and horticultural products having as much access as possible to overseas markets, it strongly advocates a rules-based approach to international trade.
Each risk analysis must be considered on its own merit, and any deviation from this may result in New Zealand losing ground on international disputes over market access.
Even though there is scientific uncertainty, Biosecurity New Zealand’s view is that the body of evidence is sufficient to support its conclusion that appropriately treated imported honey can be safely imported.
Biosecurity New Zealand and the beekeeping industry largely agree on the available scientific information and its limitations. Where the two differ is over perceptions of ‘acceptable risk’.
The legal responsibility for issuing import health standards under Section 22 of the Biosecurity Act 1993 is the Director-General of MPI. This is done on the recommendation of a Chief Technical Officer, who must consider:
- the likelihood of any organisms being brought into New Zealand
- the possible impact on New Zealand of any imported organisms
- New Zealand’s international obligations.
The process by which these matters are considered is Import Risk Analysis. Biosecurity New Zealand has played a leading role internationally in the development of Risk Analysis methods, and the methodology used by Biosecurity New Zealand adheres closely to the internationally agreed process. The honey bee products risk analysis was peer-reviewed by seven international experts with experience in these exotic diseases in their own countries. This has ensured transparency and lack of bias.
Biosecurity New Zealand is satisfied that the decisions reached by following the established Risk Analysis process in this case deliver a level of protection that is consistent with that achieved by standards for other animal products such as milk products from countries or zones with foot and mouth disease.
This is not a question of whether there is a need or a demand. The only question is whether the biosecurity risks associated with imports are acceptable. If the product can safely enter New Zealand, it is up to individual consumers and food manufacturers to decide whether to buy it or not.
Yes; honey and bee products can be safely imported because we have assessed the risk to be negligible. Biosecurity New Zealand uses the following Oxford dictionary definition of negligible: “Of a thing, quantity, etc.: able to be neglected or disregarded; unworthy of notice or regard; spec. so small or insignificant as not to be worth considering.”
Small hive beetle (Aethina tumida) originates from Africa and has in the past seven years become established in the southern region of the United States, Egypt and in three Australian states. It is not present in New Zealand. Rather than causing larval disease, small hive beetle larvae cause significant damage to honey bee colonies, stored combs and apiary products. In some locations, small hive beetle has been reported to cause deaths of bee colonies.
Until recently Nosemosis (or Nosema disease) was thought to be caused only by Nosema apis, a spore-forming parasite that invades the intestinal tract of adult bees and is widespread in beekeeping countries throughout the world including New Zealand. Nosema is spread mainly by the movement of beekeeping equipment and by bees moving between colonies, but also by bee products. Nosema is normally only a problem during cold weather when infected bees develop dysentery. A related Nosema species from Asia, Nosema ceranae, has recently been identified as causing Nosema disease in European honey bees. Nosema ceranae has not been identified in New Zealand.
Under the Biosecurity Act 1993, decisions on issuing import health standards are the responsibility of the Director-General of MPI, on the recommendation of a Chief Technical Officer from Biosecurity New Zealand. Biosecurity New Zealand is the part of MPI that administers the Biosecurity Act.
Internationally wood packaging is recognized as an important pathway in the transmission of pests. A significant proportion of wood packaging is manufactured from relatively low quality raw wood which is likely to contain pests.
Many invasive pests have been intercepted on wood dunnage, pallets, crating or other wood packaging imported into New Zealand.
Most international exporters will be aware of, if not already complying with, the ISPM 15 standard so explaination of the New Zealand standard should not be too difficult.
We recommend e-mailing the link to the full standard to all your suppliers for them to review.
There are a number of different pest that could be found on untreated wood packaging. Some examples are:
- Powder post beetle
- Asian longhorn beetle
- Citrus longhorn beetle
- Subterranean termite
Even if wood packaging is treated accredited persons should still watch out for other pests and diseases that might be in their consignment. Re-infestation of treated wood packaging is also possible.
Wood packaging material includes items such as dunnage, crates, fillets, spacers, pallets, drums, and reels. Peeler cores are exempt from the international standard ISPM 15, but are included in the New Zealand standard when used for packaging.
Packaging that is made from manufactured wood, such as plywood, oriented strand board, fibre-board, paper and cardboard packaging or those made from non-wood articles and thin wood (considered to be 6mm thickness or less) are exempt.
Wood packaging material such as sawdust, wood wool, and shavings, are regulated according to the Import Health Standard for Sawdust, Wood Chips, Wood Shavings, and Wood Wool from All Countries.
Wine barrels and animal crates used for the transportation of live animals are regulated by the
In March 2002, the FAO Interim Commission on Phytosanitary Measures adopted new guidelines for wood packaging for international trade. These were called the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) No 15: Guidelines for Regulating Wood Packaging Material in International Trade (ISPM 15).
ISPM 15 describes phytosanitary measures to reduce the risk of introduction and/or spread of quarantine pests associated with wood packaging material (including dunnage), made of coniferous and non-coniferous raw wood, for international trade.
New Zealand, as a signatory to the International Plant Protection Convention, has revised its own wood packaging import standard to more closely align it with this international standard.
Acceptable methods of treatment are available in Appendix 1 and Appendix 3 of the import health standard for wood packaging material.
Methyl bromide is an ozone depleting substance and its use is not encouraged when alternatives are available. Methyl bromide use as a quarantine treatment is exempt from the consumption controls under the Montreal Protocol. It is not known how long this exemption will remain in place.
Yes. These items are not regulated under the wood packaging standard, but regulated under the Import Health Standard for Woodware
The International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15: Guidelines for Regulating Wood Packaging in International Trade encourages countries to adopt similar import measures to reduce the incidence of unwanted exotic pests moving to new areas. Several countries have decided to adopt this International Standard as import measures and many other countries have given notice that they, too, intend to adopt the recommendations of ISPM 15
As an exporter, you will need to meet the importing country's requirements. Requirements for the export of certified wood packaging are provided in the export phytosanitary requirements for other countries.
Wood packaging returning to New Zealand must meet the requirements of the New Zealand import health standard as it could have been infested whilst offshore with exotic pests.
Yes it does change their role. Accredited persons should still be inspecting all wood packaging for pest such as insects and fungi but they must also record the ISPM 15 compliance status of the wood packaging on their container log sheets.
We recommend that non-compliant wood packaging be treated or destroyed.
International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM’s) are adopted by contracting parties to the IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention) , and by FAO Members that are not contracting parties, through the Interim Commission on Phytosanitary Measures. ISPM’s are the standards, guidelines and recommendations recognized as the basis for phytosanitary measures applied by Members of the World Trade Organization under the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. ISPM 15 is the international guideline for regulating wood packaging material in international trade.
You can contact the National Programme Manager
No. Wood packaging must be compliant with New Zealand's import requirements.
To provide sufficient time for countries to develop certification programs for wood packaging materials, New Zealand is implementing a staggered enforcement plan.
After 1 July 2006 if any untreated packaging is found it will be treated, re-shipped or destroyed. Costs for these actions will be borne by the importer.
Yes. If you have untreated wood packaging in your consignment after 1 July 2006 you will have to treat, reship or destroy it. The costs of this will be borne by the importer.