12 Aug 2008

Apple exports to China voluntarily suspended

9:34 pm on 12 August 2008

The national pipfruit industry body has voluntarily suspended exports of apples directly into China after the discovery of woolly aphids in a shipment of fruit from Hawke's Bay.

It says four packhouses have had their trade suspended since the discovery a month ago.

The rest of the industry has agreed to not apply for phytosanitary certification for China for the remainder of the export season, which is about to come to an end.

Pipfruit New Zealand estimates the Chinese market is worth about $18 million in apple exports.

Chief executive Peter Beaven says apples are still able to be sent through Hong Kong, which has different certification requirements to China.

He expects trading to resume in the new season, early next year.

Mr Beaven says Pipfruit New Zealand will met biosecurity officials to work out what extra procedures are needed at packhouses.

Biosecurity New Zealand is carrying out a review of its phytosanitary inspections for the pipfruit industry as a result of the incident.