Phytosanitary / End Point Inspections still play an important role in moving our export produce from our New Zealand growers and packers to their overseas customers.
Most countries that import fruit and vegetables expect that the produce arrives healthy, clean, and free of pests and diseases. The Oxford Dictionary defines ‘phytosanitary’ as, “relating to the health of plants, especially with respect to the requirements of international trade.”
Countries manage their phytosanitary relationship with each other through the International Plant Protection Convention. This is an international agreement on plant health with more than 180 member countries.
A phytosanitary inspection carried out in New Zealand ensures that the produce exported to an overseas country, meets the plant health related expectations of the importing country.
A set of product specific regulatory documents summarise importing countries’ expectations. These are called Importing Country Phytosanitary Requirements (ICPRs). The New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) shows on its website links to the phytosanitary requirements of many of our export trading partners.
The History of Phytosanitary / Endpoint Inspections
Phytosanitary / Endpoint inspections are in most exporting countries conducted by Government employed inspectors. In New Zealand, MPI’s predecessor, the Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry (MAF) traditionally inspected export produce.
In the 1990s, MAF Inspectors stopped inspecting New Zealand export produce. Instead, produce exports started being inspected by MAF authorised qualified service providers. These organisations can either be Independent Verification Agencies (IVAs) or Ministry Approved Organisations (MAOs).
Since the initial introduction of IVAs, MAF has become MPI. Other changes have also happened. An MAO can be an independent entity offering phytosanitary services, a packhouse, an export company, or a logistics provider. An MAO needs to have staff qualified to assess the phytosanitary conditions of produce.
We can best describe the interaction between MAO, IVA and MPI in this way:
- MPI has the overall responsibility and is the competent authority. It assures the importing countries that New Zealand fruit and vegetables meet importing countries’ phytosanitary requirements.
- An IVA provides independent inspection and verification services on behalf of MPI.
- An MAO, approved by MPI, can carry out the work required to satisfy importing countries’ phytosanitary requirements.
- MPI typically does not engage directly with an MAO. The MAO assessment and audit process is managed by an IVA. The IVA informs MPI when an MAO has attained the necessary skill level to act in that capacity. It is also the IVA’s job to recommend appointment as an MAO to MPI.
- In addition to working with MAOs on MPI’s behalf, an IVA is also conducts end point inspections as and where required.
We are keen to carry out Phytosanitary /Endpoint Inspections for you.