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Relief PKE animal part not foreign but systems needed

26 June 2013

Relief PKE animal part not foreign but systems needed

Federated Farmers is relieved that DNA testing on an animal part found in Palm Kernel Expeller (PKE) is now confirmed to be a local sheep. Originally suspected by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to be foreign, its discovery still shows the need for system improvements.

“Confirmation by DNA testing that the animal limb is local and a sheep is a huge relief for all farmers,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Biosecurity spokesperson.

“Can we again stress that the Bay of Plenty dairy farmer who discovered the contaminant did the right thing in calling the Biosecurity hotline; 0800 80 99 66.

“If any one finds something untoward then calling the Biosecurity hotline is the correct response. An additional measure is to take photographs; almost all modern mobile telephones have in-built cameras.

“Equally, MPI need to react to the best information they have at hand. Their response, based on the advice they were given, was appropriate.

“Secure storage in the country of origin and traceability from approved plants is still an issue which is being addressed by MPI following their audit in Indonesia and Malaysia.

“One of the MPI’s urgent amendments to the Import Health Standard reflects a key Federated Farmers recommendation in our Clark-Mackinnon report. That being that PKE must only be imported from specific approved facilities meeting New Zealand’s import requirements.

“We need to have confidence that the level of certification and traceability meets commodity export standards. This should not be an issue for responsible importers who already demand this level of information from their suppliers.

“More clarity post-border would also help any future investigation.

“Federated Farmers is not advocating for a cumbersome, bureaucratic system which adds expense and complexity where little value can be gained and which might trigger similar unnecessary responses in our own markets.

“If there is a silver lining to this episode it is that we will all be more vigilant and know that contaminations like this one will be taken seriously,” Dr Rolleston concluded.

ENDS

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