11 Jul 2008

Indonesian ban on NZ beef unacceptable, says Govt

4:04 pm on 11 July 2008

The Government says a temporary ban of New Zealand beef from Indonesia is unacceptable.

Indonesian authorities have written to the Government saying the beef trade, worth about $94 million a year, would be temporarily suspended from 7 July.

Problems with halal certifications and regulations on dual language labelling were given as reasons for the ban.

Trade Minister Phil Goff says he will be making it clear to the Indonesian government that a ban imposed without notice or good reason is unacceptable, and damaging to trade relations.

Mr Goff says he will take the matter up at scheduled Trade and Investment Framework Talks in Indonesia next week.

Contamination setback

Food safety investigators who are trying to tracing the source of beef contaminated by a pesticide that was sent to South Korea have had to start the tracing process again.

Tests in South Korea found small traces of the insecticide endosulfan in a carton of beef that had been processed at a Waikato meat plant.

South Korean authorities have stopped further imports of beef from that processing plant while the source of the contamination is traced. Beef from anywhere else in New Zealand is still allowed into South Korea.

Food Safety Authority director of compliance and investigation, Geoff Allen, says investigators had been working on the wrong carton of beef.

He says the authority now has now identified the correct carton, and has re-started the investigation.