5 Mar 2013

Palm kernel as risky as kiwifruit pollen - farmers

6:30 am on 5 March 2013

Federated Farmers says the dairy industry bringing in palm kernel expeller to feed cows creates the same sort of risks encountered when the kiwifruit sector was importing pollen.

Imported pollen - or anthers containing pollen - are widely regarded as pathway through PSA entered the country, wiping out many plantings of the key gold kiwifruit cultivar.

David Clark and Colin MacKinnon of the federation say their visit last year to Malaysian factories producing palm oil and palm kernel waste indicates that imports from shoddy processors are a biosecurity incursion waiting to happen.

In Malaysia they saw birds, rodents, monkeys and cattle near processed PKE in an area known to experience foot and mouth outbreaks.

And they say the Ministry for Primary Industries doesn't know which Malaysian plants are the source of PKE being landed in New Zealand feed supplements for cows.

Mr Clark said the experience with PSA shows when a disease is imported into New Zealand, its not just those who did the importing who are affected.

Mr Clark said he feels the dairy industry is taking the same level of risk by importing PKE because the import pathway is not being administered as the import health standard requires.

The Ministry for Primary Industries is assessing a report written by Mr Clark and Mr MacKinnon about their observations.