Farmers Urged to Follow Product Label Instructions01 October 2009
NEW ZEALAND - The New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) is reminding farmers that off-label use of veterinary medicines may land them a day in court and a significant fine.
NZFSA director of agricultural compounds and veterinary medicines Debbie Morris says farmers need to be very aware of dosage rates and withholding periods for the particular veterinary compounds they use.
“All livestock sent for processing is subject to random testing. These tests are designed to confirm that the animal is in good health, and ensure that the chemical residue status of the animal does not exceed regulatory thresholds.”
The Animal Products Act 1999 prohibits suppliers of farmed mammals from sending animal material for processing if it has been treated with or exposed to a registered agricultural compound and is within the withholding period.
“New Zealand’s meat industry is our second largest export industry. We need to ensure the safety and wholesomeness of meat destined for both domestic and export markets.
“Farmers who jeopardise our animal product markets by misusing veterinary medicines are very likely to be caught and prosecuted,” Debbie says.
In August, sending bobby calves containing a prohibited drug to the works earned a Waimate dairy farm company a record-breaking $6,000 fine in a case brought by NZFSA. Last week another case of bobby calf medicine misuse was heard and a $700 fine was handed down to a Waipukurau dairy farm company.
NZFSA takes breaches of chemical residue limits very seriously. Any product that is found to be non compliant is subject to further investigation, and is usually removed from the human food chain.