21 Jun 2013

Opposition condemns palm kernel biosecurity breach

10:24 am on 21 June 2013

Biosecurity spokespeople from several political parties say they're appalled that the Ministry for Primary Industries continues to let palm kernel expeller into the country when the supply chain isn't up to scratch.

The leg of an animal, believed to be from a deer or a goat from Malaysia or Indonesia, was found on a Bay of Plenty farm in a PKE stock feed delivery in May.

MPI has sent staff to Malaysia and Indonesia to try to improve the supply chain biosecurity.

It wants to stop PKE from unapproved facilities being sent to New Zealand, stop wildlife contact with the material before it's sent here, and improve the official oversight of the palm kernel supply chain in those countries.

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy says he's also concerned about the finding of the animal leg in the Bay of Plenty farmer's palm kernel supply - and says it should never have happened.

He says MPI is taking immediate action to improve the import standards.

Green Party biosecurity spokesperson Steffan Browning says when animal parts that could be infected with foot and mouth disease start turning up on New Zealand's farms in PKE itis s time to put the brakes on imports.

Mr Browning says he can't believe that MPI didn't recall the shipment of PKE which contained the animal leg.

But MPI says it didn't issue a recall as the PKE arrived in April and given the animal part was found in May most of the PKE would already have been distributed to stock.

Further, it says individual consignments of PKE are mixed by importers, making them difficult to trace.

New Zealand First agriculture spokesperson Richard Prosser says the incident highlights everything that's wrong with the Government's approach to biosecurity.

He says unless New Zealand starts giving proper attention to biosecurity foot and mouth disease will enter the country.

Mr Prosser says New Zealand's biosecurity is a disgrace.