26 Mar 2003

NZ bans Fiji beef over BSE concern

11:11 am on 26 March 2003

New Zealand has banned imports of canned beef from Fiji unless the country can prove it does not have Mad Cow Disease or BSE.

The ban has forced Fiji companies to import beef from New Zealand for canning locally before re-export to New Zealand, forcing up their costs.

Although the Fiji ministry of agriculture says there is no evidence of Mad Cow Disease in the country, New Zealand authorities are insisting on scientific proof.

A senior ministry official says Fiji does not have the technology or equipment for such tests, which will have to be done by an overseas laboratory.