Pukeuri meatworks still waiting for China go-ahead

DANIEL BIRCHFIELD
Last updated 17:42 05/04/2014

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A resolution to the ongoing certification issue surrounding Alliance Group's Pukeuri plant looks no closer to being resolved.

The plant's certification for China was suspended by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in July, after incorrectly labelled product was shipped to China.

Alliance Group general manager of processing, Kerry Stevens, said at this stage there was "no change" to the current situation.

Stevens declined to comment on how the issue at Pukeuri was affecting Timaru's Smithfield plant in terms of staffing.

An MPI spokesman said the ministry was continuing to work with Chinese authorities to resolve the issue.

"MPI and Chinese authorities at the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) are exploring options for resuming trade from this plant. As part of this, MPI is providing a range of technical information to AQSIQ. This process is continuing."

The Pukeuri plant, north of Oamaru, passed an MPI audit in November but is still waiting for its China certificate. Chinese market access regulations require a label on both the inside and outside of the carton. However, the affected cartons of sheepmeat were labelled on the outside only. The issue only relates to labelling and not the meat itself.

The problems were caused by administrative errors by Alliance Group, which have since been addressed.

About 240 staff at the Pukeuri plant were out of work for nearly six weeks as a result of the packaging error and the plant is now only processing bobby calves.

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- The Timaru Herald

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