Alliance Pukeuri received good news last Wednesday regarding their certification to export to China.
The Ministry for Primary Industries lifted the suspension which stopped the meat processor from exporting product to China for the last 12 months.
Plant manager Geoff Proctor said it was great news.
“It’s been a tough year and it’s good to have our export status for China back.
“It’s been a long road and it’s been very stressful for a lot of employees.
“There is no doubt that China is a significant market for our products, so we are pleased that we are once again able to send product there.”
The suspension occured last July and involved two separate incidences. A container of sheep and lamb meat was incorrectly labelled for the Chinese market, and meat which was processed at a Christchurch plant and stored at Pukeuri was included in a consignment from the Oamaru plant.
Mr Proctor said the plant had introduced a number of improved systems and procedures.
“Our focus is now on running an efficient operation and ensuring full compliance with export requirements.”
The company has been awaiting the results of an audit by officials from China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, who visited the plant late last month.
A Ministry for Primary Industries audit was passed in November.
Mr Proctor said the suspension had affected all company exports, in particular adult sheep exports, which predominantly went to China. He said they had to find alternative markets over the last year.
The plant reopens for processing on Thursday following their routine winter maintenance shutdown period. One chain will process sheep and lamb and a second chain will commence next Tuesday. About 400 employees are associated with the operation of two chains.
Mr Proctor said calf processing would begin on Friday and this year the animals would be slaughtered the same day they arrived, with chains starting at 1.30pm each day.
By LINDA MCCARTHY
PHOTO: LINDA MCCARTHY
PLEASED: Alliance Pukeuri plant manager Geoff Proctor.