31 Jul 2013

Labour calls for new thinking on palm kernel

7:29 am on 31 July 2013

The Labour Party says there is now clear evidence that the palm kernel expeller supply chain is broken and that foreign organisms are making it to New Zealand.

Palm kernel is imported from Malaysia and Indonesia primarily for use in the dairy industry, where its used as supplementary stock feed.

A list released this week by the Ministry for Primary Industries show beetles, flies and geckoes have been found in PKE shipments imported to New Zealand in the past three years.

Labour biosecurity spokesperson Damien O'Connor says that shows it is time for the supply chain to be thoroughly reassessed.

"....What we have here, is clear information that unwanted organisms had been coming into New Zealand with the PKE importation."

Mr O'Connor says the MPI and its predecessor consistently denied there was a problem with PKE until alerted to a problem by two farmers.

Those farmers, David Clark and Colin MacKinnon, visited a Malaysian palm kernel plant in September 2012 and found cattle, birds, monkeys and rodents all in close proximity to processed palm kernel.

The factory was also located in a region where highly contagious foot and mouth disease had recently broken out.