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19 June 1998
Submitting a bobby calf for slaughter with excess antibacterial residues has cost a Culverden dairy farmer $1250.
The prosecution was brought under the Meat Act by MAF Regulatory Authority’s Enforcement Unit. Excess residues in meat have serious repercussions on New Zealand’s $50 million-a-year veal export industry.
Dairy farmer Darcy Kenneth Thorburn pleaded guilty at the Rangiora District Court on his first appearance. MAF identified residues of a sulphonamide drug contained in the product, Scourban, in a bobby calf Mr Thorburn had sent to the works. Mr Thorburn said he had not treated the bobby calf but had treated two heifer calves with the product. He said he was mystified as to how the bobby calf had been treated, then submitted for slaughter.
MAF submitted that a deterrent sentence was required, given the impact such offending could have on New Zealand’s meat export trade.
Judge Abbott said he was prepared to accept that the offending was not wilful, however, agreed that any offence which could jeopardise New Zealand’s meat export trade was to be viewed seriously.
Mr Thorburn was fined $1000 on the charge, plus Court costs of $130, and a solicitor’s fee of $120. The maximum fine under the Meat Act for this offence is up to $20,000 for an individual and up to $100,000 for a company.
Residues in meat are unacceptable. A proportion of all export veal consignments are tested by our overseas markets, and if residues are detected a whole export shipment worth more than $120,000 can be rejected. This is in addition to increased testing of meat processed from the meat works where the excess residues in veal were found.
It is imperative that farmers maintain adequate on-farm quality systems which ensure that bobby calves submitted for slaughter do not contain chemical residues.
For further information contact:
Karen Armitage, MAF Reg Acting Residues Manager phone: (04) 474 4149
Gita Parsot, MAF Communications Advisor, (04) 498 9806