2 Jun 2011

Imported pollen 'could introduce disease'

1:47 pm on 2 June 2011

A honey firm is concerned that pollen which has been brought into New Zealand has not been checked for the kiwifruit vine disease PSA or for bee diseases.

Arataki Honey from Waiotapu south of Rotorua supplies about 5000 hives every spring to Bay of Plenty kiwifruit growers.

Managing director Russell Berry says there's an ongoing issue about the use of imported pollen and the chance of introducing a disease which could kill bees.

He questions the dual roles of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), of supporting the Government in free trade opportunities and in looking after biosecurity.

David Yard from MAF admits the frozen pollen wasn't tested. He said the best available knowledge was that that PSA or any bacteria could not be carried on pollen.

However all imports of pollen have now been stopped and will not be resumed until there is a clearer picture.