The Land NSWFA View - Fruit import loopholes

The Land Newspaper
NSW Farmers View
24 October 2013

Peter Darley - Horticulture Committee Chair

In Australia, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) determines maximum residue  limits (MRLs) for agricultural and veterinary  chemical residues permitted in our food.

This is harmonised with Australia only standards of the Australia New Zealand  Food Standards Code.

The Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) ensures this standard is applied to imported foods that enter Australia  except those imported from New Zealand  as defined  under the agreement.

MRLs in New Zealand are determined by their own regulatory authority and harmonised with their own testing agencies which  monitor domestic compilance and the compliance of those foods imported into New Zealand.

These MRLs are not always consistent with those determined and tested in Australia.

Foods imported from New Zealand do not have to meet these Australia­ specific standards under the agreement.

Our major  concern is not with the food grown in New Zealand, but with the food grown  in other countries which is exported to New Zealand; subjected to a simple transformation such as packaging and then exported to Australia.

This effectively bypasses the import requirements ordinarily imposed on foreign food in Australia.

Commitments made at a NSW Farmers question and answer event in Wagga Wagga in September by Member for Hume Angus Taylor and Senator  Bill Heffernan are a promising start on the long way to reform.

Noting the recent  Free Trade Agreement between New Zealand and China signed in 2008, I believe there is increased likelihood of produce from questionable producers in China entering  Australia through New Zealand.

Contact: Veneta Chapple

Phone: 1300 794 000

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