Organisations are lining up to question MAF’s scientific rigour after it allowed in imported kiwifruit pollen infected with PSA-v.
Federated Farmers plant pest management spokesman, Dr William Rolleston, says he hopes the independent inquiry into MAF’s decisions relating to importation standards, will result in more robust scientific practices.
Dr Rolleston is says he believes MAF was unduly influenced by a scientific paper in-part published by scientists within MAF in 2007, which concluded that bacteria could not be transmitted by pollen.
Dr Rolleston says when it is well-known that fungi and viruses can be transported by pollen, even a layman would suspect it was possible bacteria could be transported too.
In 2010, testing in New Zealand revealed that the Chilean pollen being brought into the country was contaminated with PSA-v.
Kiwifruit Vine Health is also welcoming the independent review of the way MAF operates.
KVH General Manager John Burke says his organisation is also concerned that MAF allowed pollen to be imported, and whether there are gaps in the processes that allowed this to occur.
"We owe it upon ourselves and also the rest of the primary sector to make sure that we have real robust processes.
"So the first thing we should be doing is reviewing the process and protocols that allowed pollen to come in and what gaps there might be and how we can improve those processes."
Mr Burke says work is underway to discover the genomic sequencing of PSA-v and he hopes that will shed more light on how it got into the country.
"We’re not necessarily saying that pollen is the pathway. The report that MAF has done, which we believe is a onlyt a progress report.
"There will be more information we gather as we go forward, which can then be fed into what they’ve done to date, to get a clearer picture of what’s happened."