Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Compliance Officers have just completed a far-reaching operation in the greater Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Coromandel regions.
Codenamed “Operation Nevada” officers spent two days last week undertaking a wide range of inspections targeting black market meat, black-market fish and maintaining a watch across the animal welfare sector. More than 50 MPI Compliance staff were involved in the operation which was carried out over the 14th and 15th of August.
MPI officers visited multiple sale yards across Waikato to liaise with farmers and other stakeholders and ensure compliance with the Animal Welfare Act 1999 and National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) requirements. A number of visits to farms were carried out for the animal welfare part of the operation reinforcing codes of welfare.
Over 120 food premises operating as ‘Dealers in Fish’ were inspected during the operation. MPI officers checked compliance in relation to Fisheries Record-keeping regulations, which are an essential part of the Quota Management System (QMS), ensuring legality of the fish for sale at premises. Officers also checked compliance in relation to the Animal Products Act 1999 to ensure the legitimacy of other animal products on site. A number of butcher shops and home kill operators in the region were also visited.
Food premises were reminded of their obligations under the Biosecurity Act 1993 with regards to the rules and regulations around feeding meat and food waste to pigs. These regulations provide treatment requirements for any food waste that contains meat, or has come into contact with meat. This is intended to minimise the risk of the spread of animal diseases.
Waikato/Bay of Plenty District Compliance Manager, Brendon Mikkelsen, says: “Overall our officers found high levels of compliance across the sectors. The operation was a great success, not only in terms of compliance but as an opportunity to demonstrate the wide range of compliance work undertaken by MPI. It also provided the chance for some members of the team to experience working in a sector area new to them.”
“Many people are unaware of the scope of expertise our compliance officers are required to have in dealing with such a diverse range of Acts and associated regulations – including but by no means restricted to Fisheries, Biosecurity, Animal Products, and Animal Welfare.”
“Our officers are highly skilled and professional; their hard work during operations such as ‘Nevada’ helps to ensure that the food available to consumers is legally sourced. Likewise their effort with regards to animal welfare and NAIT inspections ensure that our animal welfare standards continue to be met. Furthermore, officers’ work includes ensuring that the QMS is adhered to and our fisheries are sustainable for future generations.”
“MPI relies on information from within industry and the public to ensure compliance across the wide range of activities we monitor. If anyone has any information that they think MPI should know about, we encourage them to contact us. All information will be treated in confidence.”
For further information on the range of responsibilities MPI has and what you can do to help, please visit the MPI website – www.mpi.govt.nz or call 0800 00 83 33. You can also follow MPI on Twitter @MPI_NZ.