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Possum pies cafe in trouble

Published: 6:16AM Sunday July 13, 2014 Source: SUNDAY

An icon of West Coast tourism is facing criminal charges which threaten to ruin his business.

Peter Salter and his wife Justine became famous for their possum pies and other dishes known by names like Headlight Delight and Roadkill of the Day.

''We could have 15 coaches a day stop in,'' said Mr Salter, who owns the Bushman's Centre at Pukekura, south of Hokitika.

The former wild-food award winners even had a visit from comedian Billy Connolly, a vegetarian, on one of his New Zealand tours.

He didn't try a pie, Mr Salter told TV ONE's Sunday programme.

"We gave him one of our bumper stickers which said 'vegetarian's an old Indian word for piss poor hunter'.''

Their possum products were initially made with a supply of meat from a Government certified works.

When the meat ran out more than five years ago Mr Salter, a hunter with 40 years' experience, started trapping for meat.

Mr Salter said he would inspect his kill and only take healthy animals to avoid any risk to the public.

The Salters say customers were told the possum meat had not come from a regulated supply.

The pies were given away in exchange for a $4 donation and not sold, the couple said.

But the Ministry of Primary Industries says the pies were being sold, and that there's a potential food safety risk from selling unregulated meat.

The dispute is due to be heard in court next month.

The Salters speak to Sunday tonight about the possum pie fight on their hands.


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