The introduction of the traceability for New Zealand sheep and beef hasn’t been universally popular but the horse meat scandal in Ireland and the UK shows how important it is.
With New Zealand beef traceable under the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme, Federated Farmers believes the current horsemeat scandal in Europe provides an opportunity for NAIT to deliver on its value-add promise for our farmers.
“The horsemeat scandal in Europe provides an acid test for the NAIT concept of traceability,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson.
“Europe was held up as the gold standard for traceability but in reality, it is New Zealand that now has one of the most rigorous systems on earth.
“I know Kiwi beef farmers are shocked by the almost daily revelations that stretch from Ireland to Romania. We keep asking how systems designed to ensure traceable meat there could have broken down so spectacularly.
“Aspects of European meat procurement resemble something out of an Ian Fleming novel.
“While our beef exports to the European Union are small, at over 12,000 tonnes, it is a lucrative market worth $149 million in 2011/12. This uncertain climate regarding European beef must surely make our traceable beef stand out; especially at the premium end.
“It is time for the NAIT value-add promise to deliver for farmers and don’t we need it. It may also be a golden chance to cement ‘NZ Inside’ European premium processed food products too,” Mrs Maxwell concluded.
NAIT has added effort and costs to production. The horse meat scandal might prove its worth.
Consumers will be even more anxious to know where their meat comes from now. NAIT makes it easy which provides an opportunity for New Zealand beef.