Scandal chance for Nait

Jeanette Maxwell
Jeanette Maxwell
Federated Farmers believes the horsemeat scandal in Europe provides an opportunity for the National Animal Identification and Tracing (Nait) scheme to deliver on its promise to add value for farmers.

The scandal provided an ''acid test'' for the Nait concept of traceability, meat and fibre chairwoman Jeanette Maxwell said.

''Europe was held up as the gold standard for traceability but, in reality, it is New Zealand that now has one of the most rigorous systems on Earth.

''I know Kiwi beef farmers are shocked by the almost daily revelations that stretch from Ireland to Romania. We keep asking how systems designed to ensure traceable meat there could have broken down so spectacularly.''

While New Zealand's beef exports to the European Union were small, at over 12,000 tonnes it was still a lucrative market which was worth $149 million in 2011-12. ''This uncertain climate regarding European beef must surely make our traceable beef stand out, especially at the premium end.''

''It is time for the Nait value-add promise to deliver for farmers,'' Mrs Maxwell said.