NZ suspends apple exports to China
The New Zealand apple industry has decided to halt apple exports to China as it seeks to resolve the issue of post-harvest rot, which was detected on three consignments of the fruit.
A release from New Zealand's Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) said the rot, caused by the fungus Neofabraea alba, does not pose any food safety risk but has been identified as a quarantine pest by China for health reasons.
"The New Zealand Government and apple industry are working with Chinese quarantine officials to provide all the technical and scientific information about N. alba that they have requested," MPI manager for import and export plants Stephen Butcher said.
Representatives from MPI and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) have met with their counterparts from China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) in Beijing, with discussions ongoing.
"It is important that AQSIQ is given the technical information they need to assess the risk of the pathogen being brought into China. These kinds of notifications happen from time to time in international trade, MPI and Chinese officials are working collaboratively to resolve the matter.
"In response to the detection, Chinese authorities have identified a small number of production sites and packhouses in Hawke's Bay where these consignments originated from, and have requested that apples from those sites be suspended from exporting to China. This is not targeted at all apple exports to China.
"Industry has informed us that in response to the rot being detected - and considering this apple export season is almost over - it has voluntarily suspended all apple exports to China for the remainder of the season."