INDONESIA has suspended importation of Australian rendered meatmeal products used for animal feed, apparently over concerns about pork material being included in rendered commodities described as being sourced from beef and other species.
Indonesia represents about one third of Australia’s rendered products export market, taking $100 million worth of material each year. Much of it is used in aquaculture, poultry production and in other forms of stockfeed.
Indonesia has had a long-standing ban on the import of pork-based rendered material, from all countries. That requirement is audited on an annual basis in Australia by an independent third party auditor.
The suspension was enforced from September 1, following an Indonesian audit during August. The Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has apparently only received ‘basic’ information in relation to one of the alleged detections of pork material.
The matter was raised briefly by Sen Barry O’Sullivan in Senate Estimates in Canberra this morning, when he questioned the Australian Meat Processor Corporation about the circumstances behind the episode.
Dennis King from the Australian Renderers’ Association said a very strict requirement was in place in the Australian rendering industry for ensuring that pork material was not included in product destined for Indonesia.
Plants were audited on a regular basis by independent third-party auditors, who reported directly to the department of Agriculture and Water Resources on the outcome of those audits.
Mr King said the Australian Renderers Association had been working closely with DAWR and Indonesian authorities to reach a solution to restore trade, including meetings in Jakarta last month to move to resolve the issue.
“Industry and government is working closely to develop responses at the moment to send to Indonesia, as a matter of urgency. We’re also working closely with our customers, the Indonesian importers and the feed millers’ association, to seek to resolve the issue.”
Questions have been raised in Australian industry circles about the accuracy of Indonesia’s DNA testing process, as at least one of the two sources of alleged ‘detection’ in Australia is a single-species plant that does not process pork.
Indonesian authorities had suggested the detections related to material from January this year, making it impossible for Australia to verify, as retained samples are only held for three to four months.
The US meat rendering industry has also encountered recent suspensions by Indonesia, but unlike Australia, these were imposed on a site-by-site basis, rather than nationwide. At least one suspended US source of rendered material is also understood to be a single-species beef plant.
Some stakeholders in Australia have apparently raised the prospect of seeking exclusions from the suspension, for Australian rendered material supply chains using raw material from single-species beef plants, which effectively have nil exposure risk to pork material.
Similar cross-species and foreign material contamination risk in rendered material has apparently surfaced in the recent Senate Inquiry into the Australian petfood industry.