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New Zealand Plant Protection 67 (2014): 322

Is this imported food compliant with biosecurity regulations?

M.A. Novoselov, I.I. Iline, Z. Sinovcic and C.B. Phillips


Imported food products can carry biosecurity hazards such as animal, plant and human diseases. To reduce this risk, imported foods that contain ingredients of animal origin must be retorted in compliance with a New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Import Health Standard. AgResearch and MPI have developed a proof-of-concept enzymatic colorimetric assay (Iline et al. 2013; Proof of concept for a biochemical test that differentiates between heat-treated and non-heat-treated food products, New Zealand Plant Protection 66: 34-39). In April 2014, MPI asked for a test to determine if a tinned food imported from India had been retorted to standard. Using the proof-of-concept assay, all 10 samples showed weak enzyme activity, while control samples heated to the MPI standard produced no enzyme activity. Normally the test detects activity of the enzyme glucose phosphate isomerase (GPI), but additional testing showed that GPI was inactive. A possible source of the activity was a bacterial enzyme. The results suggested the product had not been retorted to the MPI standard.

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