The Great New Zealand Bovril Hunt
During the mad cow scare in Britain, the real beef tea drink Bovril has been impossible to find in New Zealand. When my mum became ill she decided that she really wanted to get some to drink, so I and some friends had a look around, calling and visiting lots of shops in New Zealand to see what we could do. We got the same story everywhere we asked: ''We haven't seen it for years, they took it all off the shelves and no one brings it in any more.'' Web searches led us to the fact that it had been banned for a while:
''Name: 18a Beef and beef products from the UK (long version)
Type: Surveillance Food
Summary: Products containing United Kingdom beef or beef products (excluding milk and dairy products) are banned from entry into New Zealand (implemented in March 1996).
Health Protection Officers are the New Zealand's Governments principal resource to manage and control the exclusion of beef and beef products imported from the U.K.
Liaison with the importer will principally be managed by the Central Clearing House.
Currently this work needs to be completed as a "public good" and cost cannot be recovered for this.
THE IMPORTED FOOD AND DIETARY SUPPLEMENT SURVEILLANCE PROCEDURE AFFECTING PRODUCTS MANUFACTURED IN THE U.K. THAT MAY CONTAIN BEEF OR BEEF PRODUCTS (EXCLUDING DAIRY, GELATIN AND TALLOW PRODUCTS).
2 April 1996
This procedure provides information on monitoring of food and dietary supplement products (here after referred to as "products"), that may contain beef or beef products from the United Kingdom (UK) but excludes related:
-dairy products e.g. cheese, milk powder and infant formula and casein and caseinates.
-gelatin and products containing gelatin e.g. sweets and confectionery,chocolates, icings and sweet fillings, deserts and yoghurt.
-beef tallow and derived products e.g. dripping, manufacturing margarine derived from beef fat, breads, biscuits, cakes, pastry and bakery products, deep fried products fried in beef fat or oil.
(Here after referred to as "beef or beef products" and noting the above exclusions).
This procedure replaces that dated the 29 March 1996, to reflect the reduced focus of border controls as a result of considering the products excluded from the ban.
Numerous products have been identified and may contain beef or beef products. The Customs Department has been asked to stop these products of UK origin on the Ministry of Health's behalf to enable the public health units to monitor products prior to them being sold New Zealand. This information is attached in Appendix I and future amendments are likely to be minor.
Gelatin encapsulated products may be captured with the flagged tariff codes. The U.K. pharmaceutical industry changed to use New Zealand and Australian gelatin in 1990 as a result of the BSE issue. Accordingly gelatin encapsulated products are not of concern but rather the beef or beef product ingredients e.g. beef bone products - including tabletting aids, meat, blood, enzyme, organ, glandular derivatives, skin extracts and collagen.
The tariff codes will capture a wide variety of products for Health Protection Officers to consider and Officers need to be satisfied in all cases that products from the UK do not contain beef or beef products.''
After a few years NZ MAF allowed it back into the country:
''Am I allowed to bring in Bovril?"
Bovril is allowed entry under this Import Health Standard
from the MAF FAQ