NZ: biosecurity worries over strawberry seed import review

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NZ: biosecurity worries over strawberry seed import review

New Zealand's Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) has released a review of an incorrect strawberry seed import clearance last year, but the result has not given assurance to growers who are still battling with several incursions.

MAF Director General Wayne McNee initiated the review late last year after 7,000 strawberry kits were released to the market despite not having gone through adequate quarantine processes. In a release, MAF accepted partial partial responsibility for the problem.

Horticulture New Zealand said it was disappointed that neither the importer Tui Products nor the Dutch exporting authority picked up on the issue.

"And obviously we are very disappointed the MAF process was not robust enough to stop this happening,"  HortNZ president Andrew Fenton said in a release.

"It's exactly this kind of incident that we have to be aware of, not just the possibility that something can slip through the cracks like this, but that it will.

The incorrect clearance came to light after an off-duty inspector was shopping on the weekend and found something was wrong with the available kits at The Warehouse.

"It is disturbing for all growers to know that New Zealand's biosecurity protection now relies on the sharp-eyed, off-duty wariness of a very small group of good people - we are only one Queensland Fruit Fly away from a very, very costly situation."

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