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NZFSA welcomes conviction

4 February 2004

NZFSA welcomes conviction

An Ashburton man who sold unfit meat as pet food has been convicted and fined $4000.

John Henry Cleary, 57, of Ashburton pleaded guilty to selling non-complying animal material or product under Section 128(1)(b) of the Animal Products Act 1999 in Ashburton District Court this week. As well as the fine he was ordered to pay solicitors fees and court costs.

The New Zealand Food Safety Authority has welcomed the conviction and fine.

“We hope this sends the message to others who may be selling meat that has not been slaughtered in approved premises that this is a highly risky practice. It is also illegal and we are actively watching and enforcing the law,” NZFSA Director, Compliance and Investigation, Geoff Allen said.

Cleary collected meat from already dead bobby calves, minced it and sold it as pet food. The meat came from bobby calves that had been collected from farms by another company that was using their skins only and not their meat. Such already decaying meat is only fit for rendering as there is no way of telling what the calves had died of or what they had been treated with.

Cleary sold the minced meat for $1 a kilogram to a local greyhound trainer for feeding to dogs. When NZFSA compliance and investigation officers visited Cleary’s property he had 1.5 tonne of unfit veal in his freezer and another 300 kilograms in the back of his vehicle.

Under the Animal Products Act, any meat sold for human or animal consumption must be slaughtered in premises with a registered risk management plan. Cleary would not have been able to determine whether the calves were diseased or contained high levels of harmful chemicals.

“Selling unfit meat can have dire consequences. Most would remember the tragic death of Jambi, a rare Sumatran tiger, at Wellington Zoo who died after eating meat that was contaminated,” Mr Allen said.

“Purchasing pet food from unlicensed sources can be dangerous and we would urge consumers to ensure they purchase pet food from reputable and supervised suppliers,” Mr Allen said.

Ends

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