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NZFSA welcomes conviction

10 October 2002
NZFSA welcomes conviction

The New Zealand Food Safety Authority today welcomed the conviction of the man charged with supplying contaminated meat to Wellington Zoo which caused death of Jambi, a rare Sumatran tiger, in November last year.

Mark Russell Johnson, owner of pet food company Dog’s Delight pleaded guilty to 17 charges under the Meat Act in the Christchurch District Court today.

Mr Johnson was fined $2000 on a charge of selling meat to Wellington Zoo, and ordered to pay solicitor’s fees of $500 and court costs of $130. On a charge of failing to comply with the terms of his licence under section 47(1)(a) of the Meat Act, he was fined $1000 plus court costs of $130. On a charge of processing prohibited flesh he was fined $750 plus $130 court costs. He was convicted and discharged on the remaining charges. Johnson has also paid $40,000 to Wellington Zoo.

The NZFSA today welcomed the conviction.

“This country relies on the integrity of the systems we have in place to protect our reputation as a trusted supplier of food both nationally and internationally. We cannot afford to let this kind of negligence ruin that reputation. Naturally we are pleased to get a conviction in this case,” NZFSA Compliance and Investigation Director Geoff Allen said.

“The death of a rare Sumatran tiger because of a lack of care by a pet food maker is disturbing. We need to ensure this never happens again,” Mr Allen said.

Mr Allen said Mr Johnson’s pet food factory licence was cancelled earlier this year. Work was also being done by NZFSA on tightening controls for pet food manufacturers.

“At the time this case came to light, we were carrying out a general audit on the wider pet food industry. We have been working with the New Zealand Pet Food Manufacturers Association and other industry groups on Codes of Practice which will form the basis for the appropriate management of risks.”

“We have also tightened the licensing conditions under which pet food manufacturers operate to reduce the likelihood of this kind of thing happening again,” Mr Allen said.


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