January 27, 2016
New Zealand's biosecurity could be compromised if the country resumes import of pork from the EU, industry figures said.
The local primary sector potentially faces a higher risk of pig diseases and foot and mouth disease, Richard Prosser, spokesman for New Zealand First's primary industries, warned.
In addition, the EU is not required to fulfil standards for New Zealand's animal welfare while products were entering the market on a "different playing field", NZPork's chairman Ian Carter commented.
The development followed an updated agreement between New Zealand and the EU which would provide opportunities for the Kiwi meat industry, Otago Daily Times reported.
At present, the European bloc exported close to three million tonnes of pork yearly.
New Zealand's importers are expected to benefit from the deal, said the Union and Producers of Meat Industry (UPEMI), a Poland-based trade body. "Stringent standards and control mechanisms" are in place within the EU's meat production chain, UPEMI added.
However, Prosser claimed the agreement has no economic rationale for local pig farmers and the economy.
Carter said that New Zealand's ability to trade would also be adversely affected. He pointed that EU meat need not comply with country-of-origin labelling, a point of contention for consumers.
The reopening of the EU-New Zealand pork trade - after an 11-year ban - is expected to boost New Zealand's import of meat products this year. In 2013, 87,000 tonnes of meat products were acquired from the bloc, a volume twice the amount seen in 2012.
Imports constitute 57% of New Zealand's pork consumption, with the trend still on the rise, Carter said.