3 September 2017
MPI have revised the interim measures for imported pelleted seeds. You will recall that most ornamental varieties and some veges were in Risk Group 3 (RG3) – the lowest risk category, and as such were exempt from testing through this interim phase. This is no longer the case!
MPI testing on Risk Group 2 (RG2, medium risk) over the last 12 months identified contamination in 60% of seed lots tested! This has resulted in all the former RG2 varieties being elevated to Risk Group 1, where all lots are tested.
Regrettably, this has also resulted in uncertainty over the assumption that varieties formerly in RG3 are of low risk. As a result, all former RG3 varieties have reclassified to RG2 (during this interim period), where 10% of seed lots will require testing as they arrive in New Zealand. Given the test results for former RG2, we see this change as inevitable.
These requirements and the varieties in each risk group are detailed in a letter from MPI.
NZPPI continues to work with MPI on a longer term solution where permeant measures appropriately reflect risk. Ian Gear is helping us with this, and after a period of delay we have regrouped and Ian will shortly be in touch with a number of growers to gather data.
Importers and users met in March and began work to identify biosecurity assurance steps in this production and import pathway. MPI are revising the seed import health standard (with consultation scheduled for mid year), and have asked for our input at this stage
In March 2016 MPI issued emergency measures requiring additional testing of pelleted seed imports. These would have placed considerable burden on importers of ornamental and protected-crop vegetable seed. NZPPI and others were successful in having three risk groups recognised, whereby most varieties in these categories was subject to minimal testing. This was a temporary measure while MPI established more appropriate risk management protocols.
We've kept in touch with MPI through this period and met with them late February to discuss progress. They’re considering a range of management options and have agreed to our proffering a proposal that best suits our industry.
NZPPI needs to gather data on the seed production and import pathways and recommend specific risk management protocols in various stages. To do so we need the help of all who import pelleted seed – please contact John Liddle – firstname.lastname@example.org