Who steals mussels? People in NZ

MPI Fisheries-Northland reports on facebook that yesterday a member of the public reported a group taking too many mussels from the Whangarei Heads area.

mussel.theftFishery Officers responded to the call and met the men as they came ashore with their vessel. The group had a total of 2,683 mussels between three of them.

The trio were directed to our Whangarei office for the purpose of a formal interview, however the men had other ideas. They decided to take a detour and not go to the office as directed, they will now face not only serious Fisheries Act charges for the shellfish but also for obstructing Fishery Officers.

Blatant offending of this nature will not be tolerated, the men could face charges of up to $250,000 as well as forfeiture of their vehicle, vessel and trailer (all of which was confiscated at the time).

Reminder: the daily limit for green lipped mussels in the Northland area is 50 per gatherer.

And I’ve gone with this version of the video because the lyrics are so beautiful.


Maybe public health should crowd fund: More than $4000 has been raised in NZ to save cows after TB found

A Givealitte page has been set up by a group called Friends of Holy Cow, the farm run by Mr MacNeille at Reynoldstown in Port Chalmers.

bovine.tbThe group says the farming family need financial support to keep the herd “while they work through the options”.

The friends say the cows cost about $115 a day to feed.

“Holy Cow have been an amazing supplier to our community for many years, and we want to support them through this transition,” the group says.

So far $4230 has been pledged by nearly 70 donors on the page called ‘Keep Holy Cow going’.

The raw milk operation remains shut down and as things stand the cows are due to be slaughtered by the end of the week.

“I spend, let’s just say … 60 hours a week with these girls – they are lovely hard-working, nice cows,” Mr MacNeille said.

“It’s the worst thing in the world.”

The farmer sold raw milk from his farmgate until the Ministry for Primary Industries issued a notice of direction to cease supplying and selling raw milk last week.

The heifer, which was not part of the milking herd, tested positive for bovine tuberculosis after routine testing by Ospri.

The industry good body notified the ministry and the herd’s Tb-free status was suspended, Ministry for Primary Industries director, animals and animal products, Mat Stone said.

Sytone added that while the ministry sympathises with the farmer, the most important thing was protecting customers from risks.

Detector dogs of NZ

An older woman and her daughter have been found with a large amount of fruit in their suitcase and a sandwich in the jacket pocket at the Christchurch International Airport.

dog.mpi.nz.jun.16The cargo was effectively destroyed as fruits from other countries are likely to carry fruit fly larvae as well as other pests and diseases.

Sandwiches aren’t allowed past our borders because of the meat, the fresh veggies and the eggs, which are all considered risk items.

Wherever you arrive in New Zealand, you can count on the Quarantine Officers and the Detector Dogs to protect the borders.

New Zealand recalls spinach for Listeria positive

Southern Fresh Foods Ltd is recalling Delmark Baby Spinach 150gm, 500gm and 3kg packs after discovering that the product has tested positive for Listeria.

spinach.nz.apr.16Product identification

Product type: Ready to eat fresh salad

Name of product (size): Southern Fresh Foods brand Delmark Baby Spinach (150gm), Southern Fresh Foods brand Delmark Baby Spinach (500gm), Southern Fresh Foods brand Delmark Baby Spinach (3kg)

Batch numbers: 09703010

Date marking: Best Before dated 16th April 2016

Package size and description: Sold in 150gm and 500gm plastic packs and 3kg cartons.

Distribution: The product is sold in bulk to foodservice and some retail customers nationwide.

Customers are asked to check the batch number and date marking. Affected products should not be consumed. There have been no reports of illness, however if you have consumed any of these products and have any concerns about your health please seek medical advice.

Raw still risky: Sick people from E. coli O157 in raw milk in NZ

While the raw milk dairy disciples of the Australian state of Victoria continue to press ahead with claims of unfairness after a government crackdown – because a kid died and others were injured – and Internet quacks spout nutrition horse manure, a raw milk dairy farmer in New Zealand was asked to stop sales after two outbreaks of illness linked to his product.

wholy.moo.nzThe regulators couldn’t be more Canadian unless they said pretty please.

NZ Ministry for Primary Industries director-general Martyn Dunn says Wholy Moo owner, Chris Lethbridge, was asked to stop sales after he was the focus of two compliance investigations in the past six months following two outbreaks of foodborne illness in the Auckland and Northland regions.

“Both outbreaks involved children as well as adults.”


Mr. Wholy Moo told the Advocate last week that he was closing down over compliance costs that were expensive and prohibitive.

“In both cases, the patients reported regularly drinking Wholy Moo raw milk, and MPI investigated.

colbert.raw_.milk_“The more recent outbreak involved patients getting sick from STEC E. coli O157:H7, a strain of bacteria that, in severe cases, can lead to death.”

MPI and the local district health board were able to test Wholy Moo milk for pathogens and test results have showed that the milk contained STEC E. coli O157:H7.

Since the investigation, Mr Lethbridge has advised MPI that he has chosen to stop his operations.

However, Mr Lethbridge denies that the illnesses have been proven to be linked with his milk product.

“We all get sick but just because they were drinking raw milk means they [raw milk suppliers] get picked on. MPI think they have proven [a link between the illnesses and his product] but I can’t see how they have.”

Mr Lethbridge said he is 99.9 per cent the E. coli was not in his milk when he sold it.

With such statistical prowess, Mr Lethbridge should enter the lottery.

He’d be rich.

From the duh files: Don’t hide produce on your yacht when visiting NZ

The New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries says a visiting yacht skipper hid fruit, vegetables and meat all over her vessel instead of declaring them to a quarantine officer in Opua, Bay of Islands, in November 2014.

duhDianne Margaret Joy Young, 64, resident of Australia, pleaded guilty to possessing unauthorised goods and providing a false statement to a quarantine officer in Kaikohe District. Judge de Ridder fined her $1500 on each charge – $3,000 in total.

During a search of the vessel, that had just arrived from Fiji, a Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) quarantine officer found an assortment of fresh items hidden in different compartments – eggs, oranges, apples, tomatoes, pumpkin, pineapple, onions, kumara, ginger, garlic, spring onions, meat patties, ham, eggplant, bok choy, cabbage, cucumber, capsicum and lettuce.

All are considered ‘risk goods’ and could harbour pests such as Queensland Fruit Fly that could damage New Zealand crops and export opportunities.

As the ‘risk goods’ were being uncovered, Ms Young initially maintained there was nothing further on board. She later showed the quarantine officer further risk goods, saying that she had intended to eat it all on board and didn’t want to waste it.

MPI Northern Investigations Manager David Blake says the conviction and fine sends a message that visiting yachties will face harsh consequences if they don’t take our biosecurity rules seriously.

“Ms Young’s actions endangered both New Zealand’s natural environment and the livelihood of New Zealand’s farming community.

“The interception of the risk items shows New Zealand’s biosecurity system is working. It also justifies MPI’s increased biosecurity focus on arriving yachts over the last two seasons.”

A French skipper was convicted and fined $3,000 last year for similar offences after deliberately hiding ‘risk goods’ when her vessel was inspected in Opua after arriving from New Caledonia in November 2014.


Lower campy limits: NZ govt insists poultry safety system is robust

Public health researcher Michael Baker said the illness was an epidemic here but it would be easy to fix.

roast.chicken.june.10The University of Otago professor wants to see a lower allowable limit for Campylobacter contamination on poultry. He also wants data to be published showing which companies have the best and worst rates of contamination and better warning labels on packaging.

Prof Baker said that would lower the high rates of infection in New Zealand.

But a government spokesman claimed the current food safety system was robust, and did protect people from hazards like campylobacter.

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) deputy director-general Scott Gallagher said the ministry was not considering any further measures.

Last year about 6,800 people got sick with campylobacter, with poultry to blame in half those cases, official figures showed.

But Prof Baker believed the number was much higher. More than 30,000 people each year get ill from eating chicken, he said.

“Our current campylobacter epidemic from fresh poultry is the biggest food safety problem in New Zealand.”

The Poultry Industry Association is backing Prof Baker’s calls for changes to the way chicken is prepared for sale, and a spokesman said the industry was working hard to lower the rates of contamination and infection.

Lowering the regulatory limit for campylobacter on fresh poultry was a good idea, the association’s executive director Michael Brooks said, and the association has proposed a new limit to MPI.

barfblog.Stick It InHowever, Mr Brooks said he did not support Prof Baker’s call for naming companies that have the best and worst rates of contamination.

But Mr Brooks said those measures only worked if there were also good food safety practices in people’s homes, such as careful preparation and proper cooking.

Caterer and chef Ruth Pretty recommended using a thermometer to guage the correct cooking temperature of the poultry.

“People worry, they don’t want to overcook it but they… (worry they’ve undercooked it) and they do that thing, you take it out of the oven or off the BBQ and you think, ‘is it cooked, isn’t it cooked, are the juices running clear’ and all that,” Ms Pretty said.

“But if you have a thermometer – you don’t have to have a fancy thermometer, it (can be) any thermometer – that you can insert into the cooked product.”

“Once you get (into) a system like that – which is how all chefs actually work – you’ll be fine, you’re always going to have your chicken cooked.”