Using hormonal growth promotants

Hormonal growth promotant (HGP) usage is strictly controlled. Learn more about HGPs and the requirements you need to meet under the HGP Regulated Control Scheme (RCS).

Defining HGPs

An HGP is any veterinary medicine containing either natural or synthetic hormones sold for the purpose of increasing muscle tone, growth rate, weight gain or feed efficiency of animals.

Why it's important to control HGP use

The use of HGPs is strictly controlled to protect the New Zealand international meat trade. In many markets, such as the USA and Australia, HGPs are considered safe and are used extensively. However, in the European Union (EU) and other countries, HGPs are perceived as unnatural 'additives' and are banned. HGP use needs to be controlled and tracked so that meat from implanted animals can't be exported to European or other markets where HGP's are banned.

How Hormone Growth Promotant (HGP) use is controlled

HGPs are only approved for use in beef cattle under the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Act. It is illegal to use HGPs:

  • on any other species
  • contrary to instructions on the label.

Only a veterinarian (or a trained technician under their direct control) can authorise and administer HGP use.

HGPs are managed through the HGP Regulated Control Scheme (RCS). Under the RCS, treated beef cattle must have:

  • a radio frequency identification tag (known as a RFID tag), as well as an identifier ear tag
  • their movements recorded and tracked up until slaughter.

Both veterinarians and farmers must be aware of their RCS responsibilities which are outlined in:

MPI regularly samples production animals for HGPs and visits farms across New Zealand to make sure everyone is meeting requirements.

Safety of HGPs

There is no scientific evidence of any detrimental impact on human health from eating meat and meat products that have been produced using approved HGPs.

It is MPI's policy that consumers should be provided with labelling information where there is a demonstrated food safety risk, so they can make informed choices about the food they eat. MPI doesn't consider that approved HGPs have any demonstrable food risks.

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