An un­wanted pest and its im­pact on you

For many grow­ers, the ar­rival or de­tec­tion of an un­wanted pest such as fruit fly into New Zealand is the stuff of night­mares.

NZ Grower - - Food Security - (see di­a­gram)

The loss of ac­cess to mar­kets, both do­mes­tic and ex­port, at cru­cial times of pro­duc­tion may very well be cat­a­strophic. How­ever, grow­ers may not be the only ones af­fected by an un­wanted pest ar­rival. Of­ten pests are first de­tected near ports or other points of entry for peo­ple and freight in New Zealand. These ar­eas are gen­er­ally well pop­u­lated with res­i­dences and busi­nesses. Con­se­quently, ex­porters, pack­houses, trans­port com­pa­nies, freight for­warders, whole­sale mar­kets and fresh pro­duce re­tail­ers in the vicin­ity may well be af­fected. From a busi­ness per­spec­tive, it would be pru­dent for these types of busi­nesses to have an aware­ness of what these ef­fects may be and what can be done to plan for them in or­der to min­imise or mit­i­gate the im­pact. The ad­vent of Gov­ern­ment In­dus­try Agree­ments (GIA) in which gov­ern­ment and in­dus­try jointly make de­ci­sions on how to deal with an un­wanted pest de­tec­tion has meant the for­ma­tion of pre-de­ter­mined de­ci­sion mak­ing groups and pro­to­cols. This should en­able well-in­formed, well con­sid­ered and strate­gic de­ci­sions to be made rel­a­tively swiftly. How­ever, while these de­ci­sions are be­ing made and more than likely af­ter­wards, there will be re­stric­tions and/or re­quire­ments put in place. Hor­ti­cul­tural in­dus­try sec­tors are de­vel­op­ing busi­ness con­ti­nu­ity plans to en­able their grow­ers to con­tinue to trade and trans­port fresh pro­duce should this oc­cur. Other busi­nesses that work within the fresh pro­duce in­dus­try should also con­sider pre­par­ing for this even­tu­al­ity in their busi­ness plan­ning and risk man­age­ment.

The type of re­stric­tions or re­quire­ments that may be put in place and things to con­sider in­clude:

Es­tab­lish­ment of a Con­trolled Area

– This will re­sult in lim­i­ta­tions on removal of host ma­te­rial from the spec­i­fied area and lim­i­ta­tions on fresh pro­duce tran­sit­ing through the area.

No removal of fresh pro­duce host ma­te­rial out of the Con­trolled Area: This ob­vi­ously has im­pli­ca­tions for grow­ers if they are lo­cated within a Con­trolled Area. How­ever, there are also im­pli­ca­tions for other busi­nesses that deal in fresh pro­duce. Even if

fresh pro­duce is trans­ported into the Con­trolled Area and not ac­tu­ally pro­duced within the area it can­not sub­se­quently be re­moved. This will af­fect fresh pro­duce re­tail­ers, freight for­warders and cen­tral dis­tri­bu­tion de­pots lo­cated within a con­trolled zone. Some may re­mem­ber the com­plex­i­ties as­so­ci­ated with su­per­mar­kets and fresh pro­duce stores lo­cated in the Con­trolled Area dur­ing the last fruit fly find in Auck­land. This re­sulted in re­stric­tions on those re­tail­ers not be­ing able to trade cer­tain fresh pro­duce items. Re­tail­ers may have been able to bring fresh pro­duce into the Con­trolled Area, but their cus­tomers were not able to take it out. Busi­nesses should con­sider whether fresh pro­duce could be de­liv­ered di­rect or whether an al­ter­na­tive de­pot could be used. Con­sid­er­ing op­tions prior to the event may mean con­tin­gen­cies can put into ac­tion more quickly when needed.

Tran­sit through the Con­trolled Area is re­stricted: Tran­sit through the Con­trolled Area may not be al­lowed or may be pos­si­ble with pest proof­ing of pack­ag­ing. One way for busi­nesses to plan for the es­tab­lish­ment of a Con­trolled Area is to con­sider al­ter­na­tive routes. Thought should be given to map­ping and/or tri­alling al­ter­na­tive routes. >

Ex­port Re­stric­tion Zone (see di­a­gram) - This is a pre-de­ter­mined zone from which fresh pro­duce can­not be sourced for ex­port. Some des­ti­na­tion coun­tries have spe­cific re­quire­ments for fresh pro­duce to come from coun­tries free of fruit­fly. As fruit fly has not es­tab­lished in New Zealand, in the event of an in­cur­sion these coun­tries may mod­ify their re­quire­ments to en­able fresh pro­duce to still be ex­ported to them. Gen­er­ally, this pro­duce will need to be sourced a min­i­mum spec­i­fied dis­tance from the lo­ca­tion of the in­cur­sion. For ex­porters, this may mean fresh pro­duce can­not be sourced from your usual sup­plier.

Pest proof­ing pack­ag­ing – If there is a sud­den need for fresh pro­duce pack­ag­ing to be pest proofed, there will al­most certainly be a num­ber of busi­nesses look­ing for a so­lu­tion. Con­sid­er­a­tion as to how this may be done, ma­te­ri­als to be used and how they can be sourced may save valu­able time later.

Trace­abil­ity – The abil­ity to trace where fresh pro­duce has come from and its des­ti­na­tion is cru­cial when de­ter­min­ing where af­fected or po­ten­tially af­fected pro­duce is lo­cated and also in pro­vid­ing ev­i­dence as to where fresh pro­duce has been grown and sourced. It will be worth­while check­ing that in­ven­tory sys­tems have the ca­pa­bil­ity to do this. Car­ry­ing out a mock re­call or trace­back may be a good way of test­ing the in­ven­tory sys­tem and is gen­er­ally a re­quire­ment for food safety sys­tems that many busi­nesses within the fresh pro­duce in­dus­try al­ready ad­here to.

As a way of deal­ing with the re­quire­ments listed above for fruit fly, a pro­to­col called the “Of­fi­cial As­sur­ance Pro­gramme (OAP) for the ex­port of fruit fly host ma­te­rial” has been jointly de­vel­oped by in­dus­try and gov­ern­ment un­der the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries (MPI). The OAP de­scribes ac­tiv­i­ties that busi­nesses such as freight for­warders, ex­porters and pack­houses must carry out in the event of an in­cur­sion e.g. prov­ing where fresh pro­duce was grown, what the trans­port route was, how the fresh pro­duce was pro­tected from in­fes­ta­tion etc. This OAP en­ables MPI ap­proved or­gan­i­sa­tions (MAOs) to pre­plan and in­cor­po­rate these ad­di­tional re­quire­ments into their sys­tems so they are ready to go when needed with lit­tle or no de­lay. There has also been guid­ance de­vel­oped to as­sist MAOs in adapt­ing their sys­tems to in­cor­po­rate the OAP. A sim­i­lar ini­tia­tive is be­ing looked at for the move­ment of fresh pro­duce do­mes­ti­cally. The OAP and guid­ance doc­u­ment can be found at the fol­low­ing link: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/ex­port­ing/ food/fruit-and-veg­eta­bles/of­fi­cialas­sur­ance-pro­grammes/

Al­though it can­not be pre­dicted what, when or where the next un­wanted pest will be found in New Zealand, prepa­ra­tion can be made for the even­tu­al­ity. By pre­par­ing well, the ef­fects of re­stric­tions im­posed on busi­nesses can be min­imised.

If an in­cur­sion oc­curs, the lo­ca­tion and size of the Con­trolled Area and the Ex­port Re­stric­tion Zone(s) will be avail­able on the MPI web­site or can be re­quested from plant­ex­ports@ mpi.govt.nz. It is also im­por­tant for im­pacted busi­nesses to li­aise closely with their as­so­ci­ated rep­re­sen­ta­tive body dur­ing this time for any fur­ther in­for­ma­tion on the re­sponse to the un­wanted pest.

The abil­ity to trace where fresh pro­duce has come from and its des­ti­na­tion is cru­cial when de­ter­min­ing where af­fected or po­ten­tially af­fected pro­duce is lo­cated.

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