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24 May 1999
A Mount Maunganui man was fined $330 in the Auckland District Court yesterday after pleading guilty to knowingly mis-labelling dairy produce for export.
The man, Alexander Slaughter, a principal of Eastern Pacific Co, pleaded guilty to two counts under the Dairy Industry Act 1952.
He was found guilty of exporting mis-labelled packaged milk protein concentrate. Additionally he was found guilty of knowingly labelling milk protein concentrate which would likely mislead a person outside New Zealand as to the type of dairy produce it was.
Mr Slaughter was selling the product to the United States market where it was further distributed to the manufacturing industry.
The dairy product was found by the United States Department of Agriculture Officials after a tip-off from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry's Enforcement Unit to check one of Mr Slaughter's consignments as part of their random checks. The product was found to be declared at export as 'propheral paper coating pre-mix'.
Samples of the product were shipped to New Zealand for analysis. It was found to be high-grade milk protein concentrate falling just outside New Zealand Dairy Board export specification. This product satisfied the definition of 'dairy produce' under legislation and is therefore strictly monitored and controlled in its ability to be exported from New Zealand.
The product was subsequently reclassified by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an 'animal feed supplement', and 'not for human consumption'. US Customs imposed a tariff penalty on the importer of the product.
Eastern Pacific Co was not a registered New Zealand company, nor had the New Zealand Dairy Board issued the company, or any one associated with it, a licence for exporting dairy produce.
New Zealand has a good reputation overseas for the high health status and control it exercises over the accurate labelling and end-use of its dairy export products. Providing accurate descriptions of export products is non-negotiable. The commercial stakes are high, with the potential for immense adverse repercussions for New Zealand's dairy industry and to our reputation as a supplier of superior quality agricultural based product, if a producer fails.
For further contact:
Frank Sheehan, Senior Investigator, MAF Enforcement Unit. Tel: 09 357 1059