Homekill and unregulated animal products

20 August 1998

The need to develop a policy for home kill and unregulated animal products has arisen in the course of developing the policy for the new Meat/Animal Products Act.

New Meat/Animal Products Act is based on a risk management approach to the delivery of animal products which are "fit for purpose".

One such fitness for purpose would be product that is safe for human consumption.  The policy position on unregulated animal product for inclusion in the new Act is preliminary. There is no agreed, final MAF position on the issues and there is no Government position on the issues at this time.

The new Act will cover all animal products both edible and inedible. The new Act also reflects application of "the optimal regulatory model", which is a three tier approach to regulatory activity whereby:

  • industry takes a much greater role in, and responsibility for, the development, implementation and operation of risk management programmes;
  • these are verified by independent, third party verifiers; and
  • Government sets standards and oversights the system through audit and enforcement.

Such a regime will allow Government to:

  • establish a baseline of safety assurances for consumers and other users of animal products domestically; and
  • give official assurances for animal product exports.

In order to define the risk management system and ensure its integrity two key issues need to be determined:

  • the boundary or line around the risk management system in order to identify product in the regulated system and that which is outside the system; and
  • the safeguards needed to ensure unregulated product does not enter or leak into the regulated system.

As part of the process to determine the above two issues, MAF distributed a discussion paper on unregulated animal product early in July to key industry organisations.

Following submissions, MAF then developed a preliminary policy position. The reason for going back to industry with this preliminary policy position now is because:

  • there are particular groups whose views had not been captured or reflected or, some cases, sought in the first round of consultation and which MAF is concerned to cover (such as Maori, rural butchers, Pacific Island community and custom kill premise operators);
  • where opposite views had been expressed on some of the issues in the first round of consultations, more information is needed on the issue; and
  • there remains concern about the social and economic impact of the proposals.

As stated above: the policy position on unregulated animal product for inclusion in the new Act is preliminary. Neither MAF nor the Government have an agreed, final MAF position on the issues at this stage. The next step is for MAF to prepare a paper for the Minister to take forward to Cabinet by the end of August.

Following this, the timing and next steps in the policy/legislative process are:

  • the decisions made by Government will be translated into the new Meat/Animal Products Bill;
  • the Bill is intended to be introduced in Parliament early November;
  • at that time, it is expected to be referred to Select Committee where another round of public consultation will take place;
  • the Select Committee is required to report back to Parliament within 6 months of referral; Parliament will then consider the Bill and possible passage will follow.

Other factors being taken into account in the process are:

  • Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Agreement, whereby the New Zealand and Australian domestic markets are treated as a single market. Under this agreement, no export requirements will be necessary for retail butcher's product to enter Australia;
  • interface with the Food Act. The intention is that there be mutual recognition in time between food safety programmes under the Food Act and risk management programmes under the Meat Act;
  • Food Administration review whereby a Food Regulatory Authority is established probably within MAF and MAF takes on the administration and enforcement of the Food Act; and
  • impact on overseas trade.

Media inquiries to:

Carole Inkster, MAF Policy (04) 474 4297
Debbie Gee, Director, MAF Communications (04) 474 4258

Contact MPI

for general enquiries phone

0800 00 83 33