12 Jul 2008

Talks planned over 'unwarranted' Jakarta beef ban

6:00 am on 12 July 2008

Trade Minister Phil Goff will meet Indonesian diplomats early next week over their temporary ban on New Zealand beef imports, which the Government says is unwarranted and unacceptable.

Indonesian authorities are suspending the $94 million a year trade from 7 July, because of problems with halal certifications and regulations on dual language labelling.

Strict halal rules in Indonesia require labels to be in both English and Indonesian and printed directly onto the packaging. New Zealand suppliers have been using stickers.

The matter has been taken up by the New Zealand embassy in Jakarta and Indonesia's envoy to Wellington.

Contamination setback

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

Tests in South Korea found 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 was traced. Beef from all other New Zealand sources 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 begun the investigation again.