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16 April 2002
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) has required wild venison meat to be
withdrawn from the market following allegations of illegal deer hunting. Export
certification for the product concerned has also been withdrawn.
This action follows police charges against hunters who are accused of poaching deer.
Dr Tony Zohrab, Director Animal Products, says that MAF's standards rely on hunter
declarations as a means of ensuring that wild deer are not taken from areas that may have
been subject to animal pest control operations.
"It is important to be certain that feral deer are not taken from areas that have
been subject to pest control agents."
"MAF has taken this precautionary measure as there is now some question as to the
reliability of the declarations supplied by those accused of poaching."
Dr Tony Zohrab says that the withdrawn product will remain under MAF detention pending
the results of analytical testing.
Farmed venison, the vast majority of New Zealand's venison production, is not
implicated in this product withdrawal.
"It should also be noted that the venison processors are not implicated in any
illegal activity," says Dr Zohrab.
"In the meantime, MAF reiterates that any hunter supplying feral deer for
processing must ensure that the hunter declaration has been completed appropriately."
says Dr Zohrab.
For more information contact Tony Zohrab:
MAF Food Assurance Authority, Tel. 04-474-4179 or 021-673423, or Chris Morrison, MAF Communications, Tel. 04-498-9806 or 021-852-559.