15 Aug 2013

Meatworks waits on Chinese clearance

1:06 pm on 15 August 2013

The Ministry for Primary Industries says it will re-certify the Alliance Group's Pukeuri plant to resume processing sheepmeat for China as soon as it gets clearance from Chinese authorities.

And 240 meatworkers laid off from the plant this week will be hoping that's sooner rather than later.

MPI suspended certification of meat exports to China from the plant near Oamaru after Chinese border officials rejected cartons of meat that weren't properly labelled.

Alliance said it was an administrative error that's now been rectified.

MPI acting director-general Scott Gallacher said the suspension will be lifted as soon as the Chinese quarantine agency AQSIQ, confirms it is satisfied with the company's corrective action.

He points out that the Pukeuri suspension affects only meat exports to China. Meat from the plant can still be exported to other countries.

But 240 meatworkers at Pukeuri have now been laid off without pay and won't been re-employed until the plant resumes processing for China.

In the meantime, Alliance will process sheepmeat for China at its Smithfield plant in Timaru which it has had to re-open out of season to fill the gap.