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Farmers respond to an animal part found in PKE

MEDIA RELEASE

WEBSITE WWW.FEDFARM.ORG.NZ

19 June 2013

Farmers respond to an animal part found in PKE

Federated Farmers considers the proposed improvements to the biosecurity of Palm Kernel Expeller (PKE), following the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) response to the Federation’s Clark-McKinnon Report, cannot come soon enough.  It also comes on the same day an exotic animal body part was confirmed to have found in PKE on a Bay of Plenty farm.

“Can we first pay tribute to the Bay of Plenty dairy farmer who absolutely did the right thing when he or she discovered an animal part in PKE,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Biosecurity spokesperson.

“Any farmer who finds something untoward must do what this farmer rightly did and call the Biosecurity hotline; 0800 80 99 66.  Do not ignore or dispose of it.  Report it.

“Yet we must ask why the MPI did not initiate a recall of this shipment.  Clearly the shipment was contaminated and that is a breach of the Import Health Standard.

“Any exotic animal part making its way onto a farm is a huge concern and could be a disease vector.

“Following the MPI’s audit of Malaysian and Indonesian facilities, they have indicated that PKE facilities need better security and that product traceability needs to be strengthened.

“We agree.  In 2012, Federated Farmers members, David Clark and Colin McKinnon, visited an unapproved PKE plant and found lax security. 

“It should be noted that while an audit found no evidence this plant had supplied PKE to New Zealand, the Clark-McKinnon report raises the possibility that PKE from unapproved plants could have been exported to New Zealand through product consolidation by traders in the country of origin. 

“The MPI audit report released today confirms this.  It notes that PKE has been able to be imported from non-approved facilities and Legal Declarations have not been completed, as required by our Import Health Standards.

“The Clark-McKinnon report called for a tightening of process.  The MPI have responded with a review of the Import Health Standard and an audit of the supply chain resulting in the recommendations.

“Heat treatment is a key biosecurity measure to protect New Zealand from diseases like Foot and Mouth.  Clearly, the issue seems to be what occurred post treatment.  We now know animal tissue has entered the PKE supply chain at a later stage, perhaps dragged in by a rodent, dropped by a bird or by some other animal entering a storage area.

“The risk to New Zealand is real and carries severe consequences. It raises serious questions about how vigorously phytosanitary certificates are verified, let alone the systems used to create them.

“Federated Farmers will be scrutinising the implementation of these recommendations to ensure they meet the minimum expectations of good biosecurity, while ensuring that we meet our World Trade Organisation requirements,” Dr Rolleston concluded.

ENDS

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