Luxton Introduces The Animal Products Bill 1998

  • John Luxton
Food, Fibre, Biosecurity and Border Control

The Minister for Food, Fibre, Biosecurity and Border Control, the Hon John Luxton, announced today the introduction of the Animal Products Bill.

"This Bill is of great significance to the New Zealand animal products industries. It represents the culmination of many years of development within Government and industry to introduce a risk management based approach to production, processing and use of animal material.

"Such approaches are increasingly gaining currency world wide and it is vital that New Zealand have the legislative framework to sustain the very high consumer confidence in our products into next century. It is also imperative that our continued competitive advantage in international markets continues to be supported by the most appropriate regulatory regime," Mr Luxton said.

The Bill provides the framework for a risk management system aimed at managing the known physical, biological and chemical hazards to the safety of animal products to an acceptable level. It will result in the establishment of New Zealand standards that are outcome based and which will provide the basis on which to assess a product's ‘fitness for intended purpose'.

The resulting system will include risk management programs, to be developed and implemented by individual businesses, and Government imposed regulated control schemes, to be established where necessary to deal with hazards more broadly than individuals could. Examples of such schemes include the random sampling of the national herd to ensure chemical residue controls are effective.

"This Bill has a broad scope, potentially covering the entire range of edible and non-edible animal material and products. Clearly some products, such as manufactured goods, are of such low risk as to be exempted from application of the Bill. Others, such as dairy products, will be covered by other legislation and will also be exempt.

"In the near future, I will be releasing an information paper on the scope of the Bill to assist individuals and groups identify the extent of application of the Bill to them. This will set out a wide range of examples of the expected coverage of the Bill and I would encourage people to examine this paper in conjunction with the Bill.

The information paper will also set out examples of the relationship between this Bill and the Food Act. The Animal Products Bill makes special provision for this interface by setting out a mechanism for mutual recognition between risk management programmes under the Animal Products Bill and food safety programmes under the Food Act.

"The Bill as introduced does not contain transitional provisions. These are underway and will be included in a Supplementary Order Paper and referred to the Primary Production Select Committee for its consideration

along with the Bill. The transitional provisions will, in general, set three years for existing processing businesses to comply with the Bill. Other parts, such as exporter registration will commence shortly after enactment.

"Finally, the Bill secures the continuation of New Zealand's homekill, hunting and recreational catch services while at the same time ensuring the security and integrity of the risk management system for regulated product.

"The continued access to homekill services has been of considerable interest and concern to many in rural New Zealand. I believe the provisions will be acceptable to those concerned, balancing as they do continuation of existing services and security of the regulated system," Mr Luxton concluded.