Somatotropins draft licensing policy released

29 May 2000

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry's Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) group has released a draft operational policy for the regulatory control of somatotropins, or animal growth hormones, in New Zealand.

The policy highlights issues to be considered when assessing future applications to license somatotropins. The policy is open for public submissions.

Somatotropins, or animal growth hormones, can be used to increase production by making young animals grow larger. In older animals, it can increase the amount of meat, while reducing the amount of fat on the carcass. With dairy cows, somatotropins can be used to increase milk production during lactation.

If somatotropins are used purely as growth promotants, there must be little or no adverse effect on the treated animal. That is, the benefits to the treated animal must outweigh minor adverse effects.

Regulatory control is required to ensure somatotropins are used appropriately as these products have a potential for misuse. Somatotropins and other licensed animal hormonal growth promotants pose a risk to New Zealand's international trade. There are also risks to public health, the environment, animal welfare and agricultural security to consider.

One growth hormone, Bovine Somatotropin (BST) will not be licensed in New Zealand because the European Union (EU), a major trading partner for New Zealand, does not allow BST use. Provisional registration of BST (for trial purposes) however, may be given on condition that the produce from any animal experimental animal, and the animal itself, never enters the food chain. If the European Union BST ban is removed, its licensing in New Zealand may be reconsidered. There are currently no applications to register BST in New Zealand.

The draft policy has been developed in consultation with affected and interested parties.

Public submissions close 30 June 2000.

For further information contact:

Debbie Morris, Director, Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Group. Telephone: 04 474 4141
Jonathan Taylor, National manager, Standards, Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Group, Telephone: 04 460 8763

Contact MPI

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