19 Feb 2013

Horse meat scandal seen as opportunity for NZ

12:49 pm on 19 February 2013

Federated Farmers says the horse meat scandal in Europe is an opportunity for New Zealand to promote the new livestock identification and traceability system (NAIT).

More countries in Europe are discovering traces of horse meat in ready-to-eat beef meals.

The scandal began in January when traces of horse were found in beef burgers made in Ireland and Britain and sold in supermarket chains.

The EU estimates that more than four million beef products in 13 countries may contain horse meat. They include Britain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Norway.

Federated Farmers meat and fibre chair Jeanette Maxwell said Europe was held up as the gold standard for traceability.

But she said in reality, New Zealand now has one of the most rigorous systems.

The NAIT system, introduced for cattle last year, uses electronic ear tagging to track individual animals from birth to processing.

Ms Maxwell said NAIT should enhance New Zealand's beef trade to Europe. New Zealand exports about 12,000 tonnes of beef per year there, which was worth about $150 million last year.