13 Jun 2013

Supreme Court blocks raw pork imports during hearing

1:58 pm on 13 June 2013

The Supreme Court has issued an order blocking imports of consumer-ready cuts of raw pork until it hears an appeal from the Pork Industry Board.

The board is attempting to stop the Ministry for Primary Industries from allowing raw pork imports from countries with the pig disease Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS).

It lost a Court of Appeal case and, following that, the Ministry in March issued long-delayed new import health standards to let in consumer ready cuts from the EU, United States, Canada and Mexico.

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the board's final appeal on 26 June, and imports are on hold.

The pork industry contends that there is a high risk of PRRS disease coming into New Zealand in raw pork imports.

The ministry argues that the risks are minimal, because of controls already in place and the relatively small amount of consumer ready pork that would be imported.