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11 April 1997
Items which were once part of the meat industry waste stream are now being collected and purified by sophisticated processes to extract enzymes and proteins to
make products such as diagnostic kits, microbiological growth media and material for human and veterinary pharmaceuticals.
High value, high tech byproducts are being made from material, such as blood, glands and other tissues. Wealth may be built, not on the traditional primary
agriculture products, but on these biological and biochemical offshoots. The long term picture for New Zealand's agriculture and food processing industries suggests that shipments of non or marginally processed mutton, beef and lamb consignments does not maximise the country's agricultural economic assets.
New Zealand biological byproducts companies are the ‘high tech, value adding' sector of the meat industry. Most of the biological byproducts made in New Zealand are exported to supply pharmaceutical, cosmetics and biotechnology industries overseas. Recent industry estimates suggest that byproducts for biological, pharmaceutical and technical uses may be currently worth $NZ100 million in export receipts.
Local byproduct companies are benefitting from New Zealand's enviable record of animals raised free of serious diseases like foot and mouth, which is likely to increase international demand for New Zealand sourced byproduct.
The Ministry of Agriculture's role in the industry is three pronged: to negotiate favourable market access to a range of countries for the wide range of biological
byproducts produced; to ensure freedom from serious disease; and to maintain a credible export certification system.
In the past 18 months, MAF has either negotiated or formalised market access arrangements for biological byproducts to the key markets of Australia, United States, Japan, the United Kingdom and other Member States of the European Union.