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NZFSA systems shown to protect human food chain

NZFSA systems shown to protect human food chain

The New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) is disappointed with the court decision that its case against Waipukurau company Medallion Petfoods Ltd has been unsuccessful. However, the judges comments that the NZFSA systems robustly protect the human food chain reaffirm the quality of New Zealand’s food safety environment, says Geoff Allen, NZFSA Director, Compliance and Investigation.

“We are awaiting the written judgement for review and will decide what steps, if any, we will take once we have seen it.

“In his oral judgement, the judge made it clear that, although he found that the company’s manager, Mr Murdoch, had an intention to deceive a MAF official when he altered and submitted documentation relating to animals being submitted for slaughter for human consumption, he was not entirely satisfied that Mr Murdoch did so for the purposes of obtaining a material benefit. His honour stated that the NZFSA’s case was soundly presented and its systems robust.

“The alteration of a declaration and the attempt to send sheep for human consumption that were suitable for pet food only, were picked up by our second tier of checks and balances, as they were designed to do. Because the slaughterhouse involved and the MAF Verification Agency veterinarian at that works did everything right we were able to intercept these animals and prevent them from entering the human food chain.

“The animals were from a research farm which had been testing the effects of hormonal growth promotants in sheep. Hormonal growth promotants are only approved for use in non-breeding cattle subject to stringent controls. There was no food safety risk to either pets or humans. However, one of the conditions for the experiment being approved was that the sheep could only be used for pet food, and we’re pleased that the multi-tiered systems we have in place have been proven effective, and that the judge has recognised this.”

NZFSA will make a further statement once it has reviewed the written judgement.

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