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Bee import protests not over

Published: 11:02AM Wednesday April 05, 2006 Source: RNZ

Beekeepers say they will consider legal action if the Ministry of Agriculture goes ahead with proposals to allow honey imports from Australia.

More than a hundred beekeepers from throughout the country protested at Parliament on Tuesday.

They called on the Government not to allow increased imports of bee products until more research is done into the risk of introducing serious bee diseases such as European Foul Brood.

The Government says the proposal at this stage is to only allow imports of honey and bee products from Australia and the Pacific Islands.

Imports from other parts of the world would require separate import health standards.

Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister Jim Anderton said the assessment of risks around the importation of honey and bee products into New Zealand, has involved more than five years of consultation and analysis.

He said MAF's risk analysis concluded that honey could be safely imported if it is heat treated, and peer reviewed by international experts.