4 Dec 2012

Mis-labelled shipment of cotton seed meal detected

12:07 am on 4 December 2012

Federated Farmers says New Zealand agriculture was put at risk when Australia allowed a mislabelled consignment of cotton seed meal to be exported here.

Biosecurity spokesperson William Rolleston says the Ministry for Primary Industries needs to ask its Australian counterpart some hard questions after the consignment certified as containing crushed seeds in fact contained whole seeds.

The meal was being imported as supplementary animal feed.

Dr Rolleston says there was no biosecurity breach as such, as MPI officials in Bluff discovered the error at the border but there was the potential for exotic weed species to be present in the shipment.

Cotton seed meal is the by-product of genetically modified cotton and must be crushed to comply with New Zealand law, to ensure it's not viable.

But Dr Rolleston says the biosecurity threat was more to do with the possibility of exotic weed species being present than the GM cotton.