Author Topic: Egyptian authorities say AU cattle have growth hormone promotant (GHP) implants.  (Read 699 times)

WA Export News

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Live export shipment questioned in Egypt Will Ockenden reported this story on Friday, August 3, 2012

  ASHLEY HALL: The live cattle export industry has run into more problems.

Egyptian authorities have halted the slaughter of about 16,000 Australian cattle. They say it's because the animals had growth hormone promotant (GHP) implants.

But the industry says the use of hormones is accepted practice in the live trade with Egypt.

Australian exporting companies and the Federal Government are scrambling to work out why Egypt has complained.

Will Ockenden reports.

WILL OCKENDEN: It's the last thing the live export industry needs about the recent problems with the Indonesian export market. Now Egypt has questioned a shipment of 16,000 cattle.

ALISON PENFOLDS: This is an issue that we're dealing with. I wouldn't say that itís a blow.

WILL OCKENDEN: Australia's biggest live cattle customer, Indonesia, has slowly been reducing the number of Australian cattle it imports.

After the Indonesian trade was suspended, the live export industry realised it needed to diversify and find new markets.

Many hoped Egypt, which imports about 3 per cent of all Australian live cattle exports, would buy more.

Alison Penfolds is the chief executive of the Australian Live Exporters Council, the body which represents the live export companies.

ALISON PENFOLDS: The cattle were prepared and certified in accordance with the health conditions agreed between the Australian and Egyptian governments. That health condition does not preclude the use of HGPs so we are somewhat surprised.

WILL OCKENDEN: HGPs, or hormone growth promotants, are given to about 40 per cent of the Australian beef herd.

The meat industry says the promotants are safe, and have been used for the last 30 years.

However they were banned in the European Union in 1988, and haven't been used there since.

But both the live export industry and the Federal Government say they're not banned in Egypt, so there should be no problem with the trade.

ALISON PENFOLDS: The shipment was approved for export by DAFF, by security in accordance with the agreement between the governments.

WILL OCKENDEN: So what's changed?

The Department of Agriculture says the Egyptian import requirements do not demand any declaration about the use of hormone growth promotants.

Alison Penfolds from the Australian Live Exporters Council says the industry has complied with the requirements.

How many cattle generally go to Egypt and contain HGPs?

ALISON PENFOLDS: Oh look I can't, I can't comment on, on the number of cattle that would have HGPs. In terms of exports to Egypt, it makes up about 3 per cent of total cattle exports.

WILL OCKENDEN: But is this something that is out of the ordinary or have Egypt taken a lot of cattle previously which contain HGP?

ALISON PENFOLDS: The issue is the health conditions don't preclude the use HGPs. There is an MOU (memorandum of understanding) that is in place between the Australian and Egyptian governments. That MOU provides for the unloading and discharge of animals. In the instance where there is a concern but again that MOU you know, includes that animals can only be imported if they've been certified against the agreed health certificate and that's what's happened.

WILL OCKENDEN: But agreement or not, thereís clearly an issue between the Egyptian authorities here otherwise they wouldn't have halted the slaughter of about 16,000 animals.

ALISON PENFOLDS: And we await further advice as to what that is.

WILL OCKENDEN: The World Today tried to contact the exporter behind the Egyptian shipment.

ASHLEY HALL: Will Ockenden with that report.