New Zealand’s Pork Industry Too Precious to Lose
Wellington, 19 September 2019 - Growing dependence on imported pork for Kiwi consumers is placing greater risk on New Zealand’s pork industry, as African Swine Fever (ASF) continues to spread internationally.
Each year New Zealand imports pork from a range of countries including Belgium, Poland, China, and Estonia, and the Philippines all of which have ASF. In 2001 New Zealand imported around 20,000 metric tonnes, in 2019 that increased to 70,000 metric tonnes. Import rates are forecast to grow again in the 12 months to January 2020.
Angus Black, General Manager of Harrington’s Smallgoods, which only uses Kiwi meat says it’s clear there is an increasing demand for pork, but growing reliance on imported pork impacts local farmers in two ways.
“Our farms produce some of the best pork in the world and the industry is worth $750 million per year. However, unless we shift consumer demand to locally produced meat our industry won’t be able to grow, and in turn, faces increased risks from threats like ASF.
“If ASF was to make it into New Zealand our local industry could be devastated,” says Angus Black.
Canadian Authorities have called ASF a complex and robust virus which can be easily spread via direct contact, as well as oral and nasal exposure between animals. It can also live for weeks and months in chilled and frozen meat. The virus presents no risk to humans but could enter New Zealand through food products, and travel via animal feed, footwear and clothes. New Zealand continues to allow imports of pork from affected countries.
Angus Black says new legislation requiring country of origin to be identified on bacon and ham will help consumers understand where their pork is from, but in the meantime encourages people to ask their butcher, or butchery manager, about their pork’s origin.
“Ultimately we need to stop importing pork from countries with ASF, but until then, consumers can help support our local industry by buying local,” says Angus Black.
Based in Miramar Wellington, Harrington’s has a proud 25-year history producing premium, award-winning New Zealand smallgoods. Selecting only the best ingredients like premium New Zealand pork and beef, working from traditional recipes, and using plenty of artisan know-how to create superb sausages, beautiful bacon and sensational specialties, Harrington’s is 100% New Zealand owned and crafted.
Led by former chef Angus Black, Harrington’s has an unwavering commitment to quality - believing top-quality meat gives top quality produce, Harrington’s want to help Kiwis become more conscious about the food they consume.