November 3, 2003



New Food Hygiene Rules Erected in New Zealand Make Poultry Farmers Unease



Poultry farmers say new food safety and hygiene rules in New Zealand are creating uncertainty for some farms, and will cause at least one in Hawkes Bay to close.


Under the act, poultry farmers will be required with effect from July 1 2004 to produce a risk management plan to reduce the hazards involved in primary processing operations.


That plan must include monitoring of water quality, concrete pads in sheds for washing down, and ensuring the person who collects eggs does not grade or sell them without a full change of clothing beforehand.


Workers will not be allowed to keep birds at home. This is to lower the risk of disease spreading. Inspectors will ensure that all poultry farms have plans and are adhering to them.


The legislation requires producers to keep intricate records detailing staff movements from when they arrive on the premises until they leave. Such records will bring the industry into line with other animal industries.


Chris Friis, of Pakowhai Egg and Poultry in Napier, said the legislation would have a huge effect on businesses and it would be out of the question for smaller operators to comply with it.


But Lorraine Whittle, who runs Keighleys Poultry Farm in Hastings with partner David Keighley, said their enterprise would have no problems complying with the law.


Mike Brooks, chief executive of the Egg Producers' Federation, was surprised that the legislation would cause any business to close.


He said similar legislation had been in place for other industries working with animal products, just that this is the first time being applied to the egg industry.

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