The New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) has updated its Import Health Standard, which would permit the importation of pig meat, products and by-products from the United States, Canada the European Union and Mexico.

Under the new standard, cuts of uncooked pork less than 7 lb. would be permitted from countries endemic with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), such as the United States.

Experts representing the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), the New Zealand Independent Working Group and the New Zealand PRRS Expert Working Group provided scientific evidence illustrating a lack of risk from the PRRS virus.

The scientific model showed that New Zealand’s chances of getting PRRS from legally imported uncooked pork products are one in every 1,227 years. New Zealand has reported the virus that causes PRRS, but denies it has the PRRS virus.

However, the New Zealand Pork Industry Board issued a legal challenge to MAF’s new standard, and the High Court of New Zealand issued a temporary injunction that prohibits MAF from granting pork importations from the countries listed.

The temporary injunction allows the New Zealand Pork Industry Board to present their rationale for interim relief due to the standard.
NPPC indicates it supports MAF’s decision, but says it doesn’t go far enough in establishing science-based trading standards.

NPPC vows to continue advocating for full and open access for U.S. pork and pork products into New Zealand, and for any country that erects unscientific barriers to trade for U.S. pork producers.