New growth promotant control programme revised

24 October 2000

New requirements for hormonal growth promotant use have become necessary if New Zealand is to continue its trade in beef with the European Union. The European Union has banned the use of growth promotants (substances with a hormone like action) for finishing purposes in food producing animals./p>

To continue trade with the EU, New Zealand like other exporters of animal products must either ban the use of hormonal growth promotants (HGPs) or implement a national HGP control programme.

In the past New Zealand had a HGP control programme in place based on licensing and identification of treated animals, but a recent European Commission audit of the existing New Zealand HGP control programme highlighted areas for improvement.

In response to the EU Commissions findings, MAF had to give assurances to the EU that the current programme would be revised under the Animal Products Act 1999.

The number of farmers using growth hormone promotants in New Zealand is very low at approximately 1100 farmers, says Dennis Butler, Meat Industry Standards Council chairperson.

"The new programme will come into effect from 30 November 2000 and differs from the previous programme in that it focuses on strengthening controls relating to implantation, identification, and traceback," he said.

From 30 November 2000, HGP implants must be done by:

  • veterinarians
  • trained technicians employed by, or subcontracted to a veterinarian
  • farmers, only if they are directly supervised by a veterinarian or trained technician.

Animals that have been HGP treated on or after 30 November 2000 must be identified by:

  • the national animal identification scheme includes a primary ear tag, and a secondary ear tag. Both tags must have an identical individual animal identifier; and
  • an orange HGP ear tag.

The programme provides for transitional arrangements for animals that have been treated with HGPs prior to 30 November in regard to tagging, identification and processing.

The new HGP control programme will also involve the development of a central database that will record the individual animal identifier for each animal that has been treated with a HGP.

It is expected that this will be operational by 1 February 2001. Once it is operational, meat processors will make a final check of individual animal identification numbers against this central database and ensure that animals treated with HGPs are not exported to the EU.

MAF has developed both programmes in consultation with wholesalers of HGP products, the Meat Industry Association, Meat NZ, Meat Industry Standards Council, New Zealand Veterinary Association, Federated Farmers, and the MAF Verification Agency. MAF is conducting briefings for various affected parties.

The overseas market requirements for the revised HGP programme is available via the MAF website or a hard copy can be provided by contacting Geoff Maughan at Manor House Press on 04-568-6071.

For further information please contact:

Tony Zohrab, Director Animal Products, Phone: 021-673-423
Allan Frazer, Meat NZ. Telephone: 0800-969-328. Ext: 840

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