A new antibiotic to control the kiwifruit vine disease, Psa
has been approved by the Environmental Protection Authority.
The antibiotic Kasumin is used as a spray on crops and
contains the antibiotic kasugamycin - which has previously
not been used in New Zealand.
ETEC Crop Solutions Limited applied to the EPA (Environmental
Protection Authority) in May this year for permission to
import Kasumin from Japan.
The EPA's expert Hazardous Substances and New Organisms
Committee approved the application, but imposed rules to
protect people and the environment.
Users will have to be trained and certified to use the
products safely and it will have to be sprayed from land, not
The rules also restrict how much of the product can be
Responding to an invitation for public submissions on the
import application, the National Beekeepers Association said
beekeepers were concerned about the product's planned use.
"This concern is because one of the principle crops proposed
for the end use of this product is Kiwifruit which uses bees
"Beekeepers in New Zealand export significant amounts of bee
products and they are concerned about the chance of
antibiotic residues in pollen, propolis, bees wax and honey
all of which are exported," the submission stated.
"Detection of kasugamycin residues in any of these bee
products by importing countries could have significant
economic effects on New Zealand beekeepers' future incomes if
our bee products were banned from some markets."
While the applicant's risk assessment identified that there
was no risk to humans or animals, no information was
presented which would make a balanced risk assessment
possible for the effects on bees, the association said.
Speaking on behalf of Zespri, Kiwifruit Vine Health and New
Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated, David Tanner said Psa
was discovered in New Zealand in November 2010.
"According to a Lincoln University study in 2012, this
bacterial disease is expected to cost the kiwifruit industry
several hundred million dollars over the next five to 15
years, as a result of vine and production losses.
"Currently, only a small number of effective control options
are available to growers for the management of Psa and these
largely are limited in terms of how much can be used and when
they can be used, because of concerns over crop residues and
"Therefore additional effective options are urgently required
to minimise the impact of this disease."
Kasumin was an effective tool which would significantly help
in the management of Psa, Mr Tanner said.
While there were risks associated with the use of Kasumin,
they could be managed well, he said.
The use of the antibiotic would be limited to pre-flowering,
therefore managing the risk of humans and animals from
Also, as Kasumin would not be allowed to be used during
flowering, the risk of bees coming into contact with the
product was minimised, Mr Tanner said.