PKE brings biosecutiry risk

04/11/2009

Federated Farmers has been questioning the biosecurity risk from imports of Palm Kernel Extract  for some time and Rural News reports that risk has now been officially recognised.

Foot and mouth disease could reach New Zealand in palm kernel but steps are finally being taken to close down the pathway, says Federated Farmers.

Biosecurity spokesman John Hartnell says he understands Biosecurity NZ is working with its Australian counterpart to tackle what it now admits is a gap in the current import health standard.

‘There is a big hole in the process and that’s the time the product sits on the ground between when it leaves the crusher and when it is loaded on the boat.

Greenpeace has been campaigning against PKE imports on environmental grounds. The biosecuirty risk is far more serious.

The current import health standard relies on heating during oil extraction, rendering the meal sterile, but meal is often stored before shipment, sometimes on bare earth.

That provides a window for insect infestation and, worse still, contamination with potential foot and mouth disease bearing material such as soil or animal remains, says Hartnell.

That risk might be small but it is not something we can afford to ignore.

The detection of atypical scrapie (also known as Nor 98) in a single sheep’s brain last week almost went unnoticed. MAF was upfront about it, explained how it was detected and the implications of the find, including most importantly that it doesn’t change our scrapie-free status.

Even a false alarm about Foot & Mouth disease would be far more serious. The hoax letter sent in 2005 which said the disease was on Waiheke Island, caused a dip in the dollar and threatened exports.

No matter how cheap PKE is, unless it can be guaranteed foot and mouth free it is too expensive.


Greenpeace gets wrong target again

11/10/2009

Greenpeace activists have been arrested after painting an anti-Fonterra slogan on a ship in New Plymouth.

It was another protest against the importing of palm based animal feed.

There may be bio security issues with imported feed which could be a legitimate target for protest.

Whether palm plantations are the environmental problem Greenpeace believes they are is a moot point.

But if the protesters were really concerned about the environmental impacts they’d be targeting the companies and people who buy the many products which use palm oil rather than Fonterra which imports a small amount of the waste product, palm kernel extract.


Greenpeace has wrong target for wrong reasons

17/09/2009

Greenpeace activists might have had a case if they were protesting about the biosecurity risks from importing palm kernel extract.

But in undertaking an act of piracy and attacking Fonterra they had the wrong target for the wrong reasons.

Federated Farmers president Don Nicolson was right to call it an act of piracy.

“I fully respect the freedom of Greenpeace to protest legally but they have crossed the line by interfering with legal commerce and free navigation on the high seas.

“That’s why the Police need to take this act of piracy, or sea-robbery, very seriously and prosecute those activists to the full extent of the law.  Those activists need to be sent a message that is unequivocal and clear.  They need to be made an example of.

“It’s also economic treason designed to damage New Zealand’s reputation abroad.  Greenpeace is actually anti-farming and these new tactics show how low they are prepared to go. 

Nicolson pointed out PKE is a waste by-product of a waste by-product, derived from producing palm oil we eat or consume daily. 

This point was made by Feds’ biosecurity spokesman John Hartnell in an earlier media release:

“Palm kernel extract is a waste by-product left over from the processing of palm oil for consumer products.  I can’t state that enough, palm kernel is a waste by-product.

“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.

Farming is a much easier target than the people who buy potato chips and all the other food which contains palm oil and Nicolson correctly points out:

“Greenpeace knows it cannot win the argument on logic so has resorted to illegal means to express its lies.  It’s a despicable new tactic that has Greenpeace’s loathing of farming written all over that ship. 

Fonterra said the ship wasn’t carrying any feed bound for its stores and that it only uses pke from sustainable sources.

The 14 activists who illegally boarded the ship have been arrested.


PKE fungi story short on facts long on hysteria

31/08/2009

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.


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