According to recent data, certain players in the NSW kangaroo meat industry are unable to meet the basic standards of hygiene required when selling food to consumers.
According to the Greens MP, John Kaye, the New South Wales Food Authority carried out multiple inspections over twelve months which revealed "16 separate compliance breaches, ranging from minor to unacceptable".
The numerous investigations conducted by the NSW Food Authority discovered that various hygiene rules intended to prevent cross-contamination in kangaroo meat were being ignored. The violations included a lack of cleaning and water facilities, the storage of live animals beside dead ones, and hanging carcasses from rusty hooks. According to Kaye, the food safety issues discovered with the meat meant that any consumer who ate the product would suffer "risk of infection".
The Threat of Bad Hygiene
Experts suggest that problems with hygiene pose a significant problem in the food industry for any produce. Kaye commented that no consumer should be expected to eat meat that has been processed over a dirt-ridden tray, or hung on a rusty hook, leaving it open to the risk of "faecal and other contamination".
This isn't the first time that kangaroo meat has been called into question by the food safety authorities. Approximately five years ago, Fairfax media released evidence that showed kangaroo meat obtained from supermarkets contained shockingly high levels of E.coli and salmonella.
A lecturer at the University of Technology in Sydney, Daniel Ramp, suggested that, because kangaroo is a type of game meat, it is difficult for high levels of hygiene to be ensured throughout processing practices. Because they are hunted in the bush then placed into shipping containers, there is a wide scope of possibility for cross-contamination.
Is Kangaroo More Dangerous than Other Meats?
Though the evidence suggesting poor hygiene in the kangaroo sector of NSW's meat business is worrying, the executive officer of the Kangaroo Industries of Australia, John Kelly, commented that this particular meat was forced to pass more stringent tests than other suppliers in the sector.
So far, none of the breaches that had been reported were classed as "major", which would have required an automatic shut-down of production. For now, harvesters will continue to face inspections at least once every two years.