The risk with importing kiwifruit seed

09 August 2018

KVH is aware of international websites offering several varieties of kiwifruit for sale. This is concerning not only because buying seeds online for import into New Zealand could risk introducing a plant disease, but also because websites are often falsely declaring contents on the packaging.

Lab test results from recent packages sold as ‘purple hearts kiwifruit’ online and sent to New Zealand (which then became known to KVH, so we had them delivered to us for formal reporting and testing) confirmed the seeds were of course not purple kiwifruit, and a number were seeds from entirely different plants.

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) staff are fully aware of the sites and there are projects underway to look at what improvements can be made to processes that manage E-commerce sales of risk goods, as well as awareness activities to highlight the rules and risks of imports.

There are strict rules around importing any kiwifruit seed. Seed intended for growing requires a permit to import and a phytosanitary certificate. It must be imported into post entry quarantine where it will be grown and checked for a range of viruses and other plant disease organisms. No seeds will be given biosecurity clearance; only plants which have been inspected and tested will be eligible for clearance.

MPI enforce all requirements and investigate any report of kiwifruit plants grown from unapproved seed imports. Please alert MPI if you aware of any unapproved kiwifruit seed imports by calling the exotic pest and disease hotline on 0800 80 99 66.