Illegal chicken processor’s actions unacceptable

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The conviction of a Manukau woman on charges relating to the illegal slaughter and sale of poultry shows actions that expose animal products to food safety risks are unacceptable, says the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

Xian Qiong Zhang, a self-employed chicken processor, was convicted of nine charges under the Animal Products Act 1999 in the Manukau District Court on Tuesday. Due to financial hardship, she was sentenced to 120 hours of community work and had her poultry processing equipment forfeited to the Crown.

Zhang had supplied local retail outlets with illegally slaughtered poultry from her own property, says David Blake, MPI Investigations Manager, North.  Those retail outlets have been separately dealt with by MPI, and reminded of their obligations.

Mr Blake says Zhang continued her illegal activity and ignored previous advice offered by MPI staff.

The requirements that govern operations such as poultry processing and sale exist for good reason, he says.

“We see Zhang’s actions as blatant offending outside of the food safety system and welcome the court’s decision to impose a stiff stance on this type of offending.

“This conviction sends the message that this sort of behaviour won’t be tolerated by MPI or the courts.

“MPI will continue to use all resources available to detect and prosecute those non-compliant operators whose actions have the potential to threaten the reputation of compliant ones, and food safety.”

“We greatly appreciate the support of the community in reporting people who break the rules. Anyone who is not compliant with the rules should consider that communities will not tolerate it.”

MPI asks the public to report any suspicious activity by phoning 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224).  All calls are kept strictly confidential.

“Public information is of critical importance, so if you see people acting suspiciously, whether it’s on the water, on the farm, out the back of a takeaway, at the pub or on social media - we want to know about it."

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