5 Sep 2014

Massey questions milk test results

9:00 am on 5 September 2014

Scientists at Massey University are concerned at what they say is a lack of scientific rigour in a government report that stated milk from Taranaki's oil industry waste farms is safe.

In April, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) took samples of milk from the farms and released a report last month which concluded there were no food safety issues and that dumping petrochemical waste on farms was environmentally sound.

Research fellow at Massey University's Centre for Public Health Research Jonathon Coakley said MPI acknowledged in the report that it only tested for some contaminants.

Mr Coakley said barium, toluene, and longer chain saturated hydrocarbons were found in several of the milk samples and that MPI's theory that the chemicals did not come from the oil waste was conjecture and speculative.

He said MPI needed to reference peer-reviewed science if it wanted its theories to appear credible.

Mr Coakley said he was also concerned that MPI has not presented enough evidence, other than the limited testing presented in the report, to fully support and justify the ongoing practice of applying petrochemical wastes to agricultural soil.

Based on the milk test results MPI said there was no need to conduct any food safety tests on meat from the oil waste farms.

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