New Zealand opens to US turkey imports

30-01-2017 | | |
New Zealand opens to US turkey imports. Photo: ARS
New Zealand opens to US turkey imports. Photo: ARS

US poultry companies will be allowed to ship raw and cooked turkey products to New Zealand under a new veterinary agreement between the countries.

New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) has accepted a new veterinary certificate for US cooked turkey meat, giving the US access to a market long considered to have great export potential.

Long negotiation process

The decision came after 2 years of negotiations between MPI and USDA that followed New Zealand’s implementation in 2015 of new import health standards for turkey meat. Although the push to open New Zealand to US turkey intensified in recent years, it actually dates back as far as 2002 when the governments of both countries began working on the project.

“This is an important step forward for the turkey industry in our efforts to enhance exports,” said US National Turkey Federation president Joel Brandenberger. “This is the result of a lot of hard work on the part of NTF and USAPEEC, and we also are grateful to the diligent efforts of the USDA and New Zealand teams that worked to negotiate this agreement. We look forward to exporting American turkey to this exciting new market.”

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An exciting market for US turkey products

USAPEEC recognised the potential of New Zealand early on. The country lacked competitive local production, and officials there were receptive to opening the market. The process of gaining access lengthened, as research was conducted regarding health concerns raised by New Zealand officials. USAPEEC kept the project active over the years, continuing to provide information to move the process along.

Dr Shelly McKee, director of technical services for USAPEEC Atlanta said New Zealand’s health standards had been trade-prohibitive, so the only product that could possibly be considered for export was cooked turkey. While McKee and APHIS worked to address opening the market by providing information to allay disease concerns, New Zealand re-wrote its health standards for the import of turkey meat.

USAPEEC consultant Nicole Dehnert said, “Gaining access to New Zealand is a positive for US turkey producers, and New Zealand consumers will welcome the opportunity to have access to a range of US turkey products as a price-efficient form of protein in their diet.”

Rosie Burgin Editor Special Projects