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Federated Farmers urges urgent adoption of tougher PKE standards following new discovery of biosecurity hazards

Posted in Rural News

Content supplied by Federated Farmers

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 phytosanitarycertificates 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.

-------------------------------------------------------------

Here is the MPI information released yesterday:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has today released two reports from inspectors who made official visits to palm kernel expeller (PKE) meal processing facilities in Malaysia and Indonesia this month.

The audit reports show good biosecurity systems are in place in the two main PKE-supplying countries, but some tightening up is recommended to ensure New Zealand’s standard is met.

Deputy Director-General, Compliance and Response, Andrew Coleman says the reports conclude that any biosecurity risk from the importation of PKE is very low, but the strengthening of import requirements will be accelerated after a small part of an animal limb was recently discovered in a PKE shipment.

MPI is sending a senior manager to Malaysia today and then on to Indonesia to work with authorities there.

“The focus will be on working together to ensure that PKE from unapproved facilities cannot be exported to New Zealand. In addition, a small number of processing facilities will need to improve their systems to keep birds and rodents out of the product in storage,” Mr Coleman says.

“This work is timely given the recent discovery of the animal limb which was reported to MPI by a Bay of Plenty farmer. The lower part of an animal leg, approximately 18cm in length, has been identified by a zoologist as most likely from a small deer or goat species not present in New Zealand,” Mr Coleman says.

“Our risk assessors have told us that the risk of the introduction of any animal disease posed by this find is very low. However we took the precaution of sending a vet to the property where they found all animals in excellent health.

“A find like this one is rare, given that approximately 1.5 million tonnes of PKE are imported annually.”

PKE is a vital import for New Zealand’s dairy farmers who rely on it for supplementary feed – particularly now in the aftermath of the summer’s drought and with the onset of winter.

“The changes we are introducing will help strengthen our system further,” Mr Coleman says. Currently every shipment of PKE must meet strict requirements before it can be imported to New Zealand, including heat treatment, fumigation and inspection.

“A further option being considered is a new levy on PKE imports, or an increase to the existing biosecurity levy to increase the level of inspection in these countries. Any such proposal would have to be consulted on and have industry support. MPI is now beginning work on various options for consultation.”

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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3 Comments

The audit reports show good

The audit reports show good biosecurity systems are in place in the two main PKE-supplying countries, but some tightening up is recommended to ensure New Zealand’s standard is met.
Compare that to MPIs statement in May 2013
"Based on inspection, sampling and documentation, the ministry has no evidence that PKE meal from Malaysia does not meet the New Zealand standard."
The above statement despite
Clark and MacKinnon sent their report to the Ministry for Primary Industries four months ago but have yet to see any action
http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/agribusiness/8640322/Alarm-at-bi...
I guess because they view the possibility of Foot and Mouth being imported from these F&M endemic countries as 'negligible' despite farmers in NZ having found all sorts of rubbish in PKE, MPI aren't really too concerned if there is a F&M outbreak - afterall that will mean more 'jobs for the boys'. 
If MPI are going to set/increase a levy - it should be on PKE, not an increase in the general biosecurity level and all companies importing it should be held to financially contribute on an equal cost-sharing basis, if a biosecurity breach does occur.

Oh dear. NZ shuffles further

Oh dear. NZ shuffles further towards the toilet bowl as the inevitable biosecurity botch up edges closer.  
CO it would be nice to think those that were to cause the failure would pay for the fix. But usually with biosecurity there is no fix.

Don't panic. It was just an

Don't panic. It was just an Orangutan foot, they are still looking for the rest of the body and its children. Don't ya just love modern Ag.
 
http://www.orangutans.com.au/Orangutans-Survival-Information/About-Palm-...