30 Aug 2011

Australia rejects NZ apple shipment

6:53 pm on 30 August 2011

Australian authorities have rejected at least one consignment of apples from New Zealand since the lifting of a 90-year ban earlier in August.

The Australian Department of Agriculture has confirmed the rejection of one shipment because of a small piece of leaf matter and one insect, the ABC reports.

Biosecurity Australia cleared the way for New Zealand apple imports on 17 August, following a World Trade Organisation ruling that fears of the fruit carrying the disease fireblight were scientifically invalid.

South Australian Agriculture Minister Michael O'Brien says the state's Apple and Pear Growers' Association told him quarantine officers rejected two shipments.

Foreign apples and pears have been banned in three parts of South Australia - the Adelaide Hills, the Riverland and the south-east.

Mr O'Brien says the ban is to protect local orchards from the risk of disease, not to restrict free trade.