Indonesia suspends Australian rendered meat exports
But Department of Agriculture and Water Resources officials have admitted they have not conducted their own investigations of the rendering plants in question.
The Department confirmed in Senate estimates this afternoon the suspension in relation to rendered meals for animal feed has been in place since September 14, after officials were unable to allay concerns raised by Indonesia.
About 40 rendering establishments have been affected by the suspension, which came in following an audit of two businesses in August.
The Department’s Melissa McEwen told estimates the two renderers were found to be non-compliant on several fronts, including unauthorised third-party packing, omission of packing procedures and a lack of internal packaging.
Ms McEwen said the suspension was not related to cross-contamination, but acknowledged that “Indonesia has raised some concerns separately around porcine contamination”.
“They haven’t actually provided us with evidence of this yet,” she said.
Assistant secretary for export standards David Cunningham said he was told in a meeting on August 29 that Indonesian quarantine authorities had detected pork in rendered meals from Australia.
The detections were from two consignments, but so far Indonesia had only provided information relating to one consignment from January. Samples for independent testing were requested but were not available as they were only kept for five or six months, Mr Cunningham said.
Mr Cunningham said the Department had not done its own investigations on the two companies, noting one did not slaughter pigs or receive material from elsewhere. The other got its material from a range of sources and so could not rule out cross-contamination. ■