New Zealand opens doors to European raw milk products
In a statement, the EU commissioner for health and consumer policy, John Dalli, praised the work of the Commission and member states to deliver the change of policy. Until now, milk products had to be pasteurised or heat-treated to be sold in New Zealand.
Dalli explained that the new open policy came about as a result of close cooperation between New Zealand and the EU.
It started with the framework of the EU-New Zealand Veterinary Agreement, under which authorities carried out a risk assessment on Roquefort cheese and certain hard raw milk cheeses that led to an import authorisation in 2008. And then in 2009, New Zealand carried out further risk assessment work on all raw milk products.
This has now been finalised and an import health standard (IHS) has been established.
The EU representatives encouraged the New Zealand authorities to complete their assessment work by June 2010 so as to allow European raw milk cheeses to be presented at Fine Food NZ, a food and drink trade show held in the middle of June.
This was achieved and in the end 15 varieties of raw milk cheeses from seven EU countries were on show at the EU stand.
The commission said New Zealand is the first country to accept EU raw milk products on the basis of equivalence established between EU and New Zealand standards.