Statement by Manufacturers Council on import ban of “uncooked poultry products” from Australia
The ban on “uncooked poultry products” from Australia by the Minister for Agriculture and Livestock has unintended negative effects on PNG sausage manufacturers and consumers.
Manufacturers in recent years have been able to use lean chicken meat known as chicken MDM (mechanically deboned meat) or chicken MSM (mechanically separated meat) to produce affordable sausages and saveloys in PNG.
These products have become a staple and important source of protein for grassroots consumers. Importantly, many vendors in the informal sector earn income by cooking and selling saveloys.
Chicken MDM is sourced from reputable Australian processors which are licensed or registered in accordance with Australia law and established food standards.
The smallgoods industry contend there is no biosecurity risk, as PNG manufacturers always handle chicken MDM frozen and process and cook it in manufacturing.
The manufacturing process and handling systems ensure all products are safe to eat.
Chicken MDM is not available from the local poultry producers as they produce bone-in pieces (wings, thigh, and legs) rather than boneless fillet meat.
Alternative sources of raw material are more expensive and limited in supply. PNG consumers should not be deprived of this affordable protein source.
The ban will cause saveloy and sausage prices to rise substantially. The current ban has been based Campylobacter, tests undertaken in PNG have shown a prevalence of this in Papua New Guinea’s domestic market, further PNG lacks any sufficient controls to manage the risk of disease from the western border where there are very virulent diseases present.
PNG has had disease outbreaks here (Newcastle), which have been managed; similar and other less virulent diseases are likewise managed when found in Australia.
Any suspension or ban should be based on the scientific and other economic or socio- economic considerations.
Two assessments, on the biosecurity risk of importing uncooked poultry, and on the economic benefits of the PNG poultry industry were recently initiated; the MCPNG considers it is premature to impose the ban while the formal findings and reports have not been completed.
Given the presence of Campylobacter in our own flocks and the controls in place for the handling of MDM/MSM there should be an immediate distinction drawn between Chicken MDM/MSM and other uncooked poultry products.
There are no biosecurity, economic, or socio-economic considerations to justify the inclusion of Chicken MDM/MSM in the import ban.
Left unchecked in the coming weeks more then one hundred workers may be laid off, there will be very limited supply of locally made sausage products.
Locally made currently priced around K9/kg will be replaced by imported sausages currently at around K29/kg, which ironically use MDM/MSM from the same Australian factory will continue to be available.
Source: Manufacturers Council of PNG