New Zealand’s Court of Appeals last week rejected the New Zealand pork industry’s (NZPork) appeal of a decision issued by the country’s High Court last May that further liberalized market access for U.S. pork. The High Court found in favor of the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries and its Import Health Standard (IHS) for pork, pork products and by-products from countries with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), including the United States.
The IHS would allow the importation of consumer-ready cuts of uncooked pork less than about 6 lb. Thanks to the work of experts nominated by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) to the New Zealand Independent Working Group and the New Zealand PRRS Expert Working Group, scientific evidence was used to illustrate the minimal risk of spreading the virus.
In fact, based on a conservative risk assessment model, New Zealand’s chances of getting PRRS from legally imported uncooked pork products are about one case every 1,227 years.
The country’s draft IHS originally was issued in November 2007, but because of the New Zealand pork industry’s strong political opposition, the process was stalled for several years while the expert groups convened.
NPPC is urging U.S. trade negotiators to ask New Zealand and Australia, which also imposes unscientific restrictions on U.S. pork because of PRRS, to remove all PRRS-related restrictions and allow full and open access for U.S. pork and pork products as a part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. NZPork has 20 working days to decide whether to appeal the case to the New Zealand Supreme Court.
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