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Animal Products Act Heralds New Era

Food and Fibre Minister John Luxton has welcomed the passing of the Animal
Products Bill calling it a momentous occasion for food law in New Zealand.

"The Animal Products Bill represents one of the most significant legislative
changes in nearly 30 years. The Bill represents another quantum move forward in
the application of modern risk management principles in New Zealand law,
particularly as applied to food."

It benchmarks standards for animal products processed in New Zealand. These
standards then become the platform to critically assess the import requirements
of our trading partners. This will enable more focus to be placed on
requirements that will be justified only on the basis of science, health or
wholesomeness.

"This approach will greatly enhance New Zealand's negotiating position and has
the potential to deliver competitive advantages to our processors. The Bill
provides the flexibility and choice for businesses to be innovative in their
approach to processing as long as the standards set by Government are met," Mr
Luxton said.

"The importance to the New Zealand economy of animal product exports cannot be
overstated. For this reason, the safeguarding of official assurances remains a
key objective of the Bill. This recognises that importing countries place great
value on New Zealand Government issued assurances."

The Bill devolves responsibilities from Government to industry by specifying the
duties of key players and imposing penalties for breaches of those duties.

Penalty levels for a number of offences have been increased to accurately
reflect the serious consequences of breaches as well as providing a very strong
deterrent.

"The animal product exports covered by the Bill comprise in excess of 20 per
cent of New Zealand's export revenues. This Bill is a significant addition to
New Zealand law and carries with it the potential to have far-reaching and
beneficial effects both domestically and overseas," Mr Luxton concluded.


ENDS

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