PKE fungi story short on facts long on hysteria

Disclosing a preliminary draft report on the danger of fungi in palm kernel extract (PKE)  as Sue Kedgley did in parliament was reckless and irresponsible, Federated Farmers says.

“Releasing a preliminary draft report, which has never been finalised, peer reviewed or subjected to robust scientific methodology is irresponsible,” says Lachlan McKenzie, Federated Farmers Dairy chairperson.

“Palm Kernel Expeller is a dry feed and like any dry matter, if it gets wet, it will attract fungi.  That’s the same with maize, silage, bread or even sportswear. 

“AgResearch put together a draft report on the ‘shocking expose’ that Palm Kernel Expeller, when wet, attracts fungi. . . 

“The Ministry of Agriculture reviewed the report in 2006 and found that of the fungi identified, the vast majority were already present in New Zealand and the few remaining were common in almost every country on earth.

“The New Zealand Food Safety Authority looked at the general issue of fungal growth on animal feed and concluded there was no risk to food safety.”

He said he’s concerned that the Green Party grabs every opportunity, no matter how tenuous, to knock New Zealand’s largest and most important industry.

“Most people don’t believe the recycling of a waste by-product like Palm Kernel Expeller into animal feed is a bad thing, so long as it comes from certified sources.  Especially if that waste would otherwise be burnt or just left to rot.

“Most New Zealanders also believe it’s hypocritical to target farmers, when they themselves use palm oil daily in the household goods they consume or the cosmetics they wear.

“I’d be highly surprised if products containing palm oil were not present in the homes of the Green Party MPs.  That said, this serves as a timely reminder to ensure dry feed is stored appropriately,” Mr McKenzie concluded.

Feds biosecurity spokesman John Hartnell responded earlier to criticism on the use of PKE as cow feed by Greenpeace saying PKE was a waste by-product left over from the processing of palm oil for consumer products.

“Palm kernel has so little commercial value that if it isn’t recycled into supplementary feed, it is burnt.  That doesn’t sound too great for either climate change or the environment. . .

“Palm plantations aren’t created just to generate a waste by-product, just as newspapers don’t exist solely to support recycling. . .

He said there was a genuine problem with PKE which Feds had been concerned about.

“”Yet for a long period of time, Federated Farmers has been questioning the biosecurity risks posed by what seems to be a great amount of uncertified palm kernel entering New Zealand.  There’s a huge biosecurity hole posed by the stuff.”

That risk is not the risk of fungi mentioned in the preliminary draft report.

2 Responses to PKE fungi story short on facts long on hysteria

  1. MacDoctor says:

    As usual, the greens would rather score a political point than actually check their data. And Kedgeley is the absolute worse. Every time she opens her mouth she spreads malignant disinformation without any consideration as to accuracy , truth or its consequences in the market place. Fortunately, by now, only the New Zealand media is still gullible enough to listen to her. Most of our overseas markets simply ignore her pronouncements.

  2. kiwifarmer says:

    I agree with MacDoctor that the Green approach is typical of Kedgely and the Greens in general. However there is a genuine concern over this product entering the country and going direct onto pastoral farmland and unfortunately the Greens have smudged this issue somewhat.The concern is all about Biosecurity and Maf/ Biosecurity NZ have been lax in their responses to concerns about the risks associated with PKE for the better part of 4 years. I’ll declare my interest, I’m a Grain and Seed grower and yes Palm Kernel competes with some of my produce. However his isnt about protecting my products with import barriers. This is about the very real potential fo this product to be a vector for introducing weeds and pests directly to farmland, and yes, as a seed producer maybe I am a bit more sensitve to those issues than your average feed short dairy farmer. Watch this space, this is about making sure our Biosecurity measures arent compromised by the desire to let every product under the sun into NZ. Next weed to watch for … Johnson Grass in sorghum imports. Google it and see if you would like it on your pastoral farm.

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