The PSA said the move was a “retrograde step in quality control”, and a threat to the country’s meat trade, pointing out that independent inspections were key to ensure the safety of New Zealand meat.
PSA national secretary Richard Wagstaff said: “Independent government inspection plays a vital part in the meat industry. It gives a guarantee to overseas consumers that the New Zealand meat they are buying is a product of high value and one they can trust.
“Do we really want to put one of our most valuable export industries at risk to save the relatively minor cost of independent government inspections?”
He added that the decision would open the door to short-cuts in inspection, and would allow commercial interests to override standards of quality control.
“It’s disappointing to see the government and the meat industry allowing these changes to go ahead. They have the potential to seriously compromise the high-quality reputation of the New Zealand meat brand overseas and the health of consumers,” Wagstaff said.