January 16, 2007
Temp labour threatens food safety standards - EPMU
New poultry processing guidelines to reduce campylobacter will be meaningless without decent training for all staff including temporary staff, says the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union.
The guidelines have been put together by the New Zealand Food Safety Authority and the Poultry Industry Association but the EPMU is concerned that the high levels of short-term agency labour used in the industry will hinder their implementation.
EPMU National Secretary Andrew Little says there have been campylobacter concerns for poultry workers for some time.
“Often people see the high level of campylobacter in our poultry as a consumer issue only but many workers including our members are exposed to this organism on a daily basis.
“The poultry industry uses a lot of temp agency labour and these short-term workers are frequently not as aware of food-safety practices as they should be and if employers in the industry don’t change this situation new guidelines will become meaningless.
“We’d hope that the industry will look at its labour practices and make moves to ensure these new guidelines are meaningful.”
The EPMU represents 50,000 New Zealand workers including nearly 500 workers in the poultry industry.