5 Sep 2012

Meat inspection now in-house at Imlay

6:30 am on 5 September 2012

The first meat plant to take over some meat inspection roles started doing so on Tuesday.

Until now, inspectors employed by the State Owned Enterprise AsureQuality, overseen by Government vets, have been responsible for all inspection services at meat plants.

But the Primary Industries Ministry and the meat industry have been negotiating for processing companies to become responsible for carrying out some of the non-health related quality checks on carcases, after overseas markets agreed to changes.

AFFCO's Imlay plant at Whanganui is first to introduce the changes, following a trial there.

Operations manager Rowan Ogg said three personnel are on inspection duties during processing, along with two Asure Quality inspectors.

He said sharing meat inspection roles will mean cost savings.

Meat companies are planning to introduce the changes at four other plants, this year.

There are about 800 full and part time inspectors working at meat plants.

AsureQuality has said the change will reduce the number of inspectors it employs.

But operations manager Kelvan Smith said there have been no redundancies at Imlay because there are vacancies elsewhere to fill.