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Scrapie allegations mediation result achieved

The agreement reached between Meat New Zealand and the Central Marketing Agency for German Agricultural Products, on a package of measures to explain to German consumers that New Zealand does not have scrapie, was welcome, Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton said today.

"This situation should have never arisen in the first place, but I am hopeful the agreed measures will limit the damage done to New Zealand's reputation and credibility in the market."

Mr Sutton said what had happened in this key market for New Zealand sheepmeat was far removed from the sensitive and sensible response adopted by New Zealand to foot and mouth in Europe.

"New Zealand is free of scrapie. That is a fact recognised by the World Health Organisation."

He noted that Meat NZ had specifically reserved the right to seek damages if the misinformation had damaged the market for New Zealand meat.

"I should record my appreciation to the German Government for the promptness with which they have responded to our concern about this issue. I spoke with State Secretary for Agriculture Martin Wille in the weekend and was called this morning by Minister of Consumer Protection, Food Safety and Agriculture Renate Kuenast. They both acknowledged that this was a problem for Germany and undertook to bring pressure to bear on the CMA. I am certain that this played a part in the agreement which has now been reached between Meat NZ and the CMA."

Mr Sutton offered his congratulations to Meat NZ and New Zealand officials for their role in achieving the agreement.

ENDS

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