The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) has had the opportunity to review the situation relating to alleged issues with the new meat inspection regime as covered in the March edition of Metro magazine.
The salient points are that out of the 191,923 tonnes sent to the US in 2013, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service has advised there were just seven port of entry issues between 2011 and 2012 where containers – representing a total of 38 tonnes of meat products – failed to meet its zero tolerance standard. There have been no further port of entry issues raised by the US FSI since that time, says MPI.
“Importantly, none of the port of entry rejections were associated with any of the meat supplied to that market under the alternative meat inspection system, since the inception of the system in 2011,” says MPI deputy director-general Standards Scott Gallacher
In response to the USDA’s notifications of port of entry issues, MPI carried out a thorough review of meat premises, which included reviewing hygiene procedures, monitoring systems and product check procedures. The review found no systemic failures and that all New Zealand establishments were compliant with USDA Food Safety Inspection Service requirements.
“MPI conducts ongoing monitoring of meat premises to ensure they continue to meet New Zealand’s high standards for meat processing – it is important we remain vigilant to ensure any food safety risks are minimised and food safety issues are addressed promptly,” says Gallacher.
An earlier post has been updated with the latest information.