17 Aug 2011

Biosecurity Australia lifts NZ apple ban

7:40 pm on 17 August 2011

The way has been cleared for New Zealand apples to be imported to Australia, ending a 90-year ban.

Biosecurity Australia has found the risks of fireblight, European canker and apple leaf curling midge can be managed.

It issued its final determination and compliance programme covering access conditions for New Zealand apples on Wednesday.

However, only mature New Zealand fruit is allowed and it must be washed by high-pressure water spraying and brushed in the packing house to remove surface contamination.

Australian fruitgrowers had wanted the Australian government to introduce tougher quarantine measures, after the dispute ended in a case at the World Trade Organisation that was finally settled in New Zealand's favour late last year.

Pipfruit New Zealand chief executive Peter Beaven says the decision has been hard fought, but worth it.

He told Checkpoint despite the restrictions, he hopes Australians will soon be eating New Zealand apples.

Quarantine inspectors will monitor the fruit supply chain and check test samples of fruit exports.