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Inaccurate chemical record keeping results in conviction

NRA 99/16 14 December 1999

A large Australian company has been fined $12,000 for failing to keep adequate records on hormonal growth promotant products.

Wesfarmers Dalgety Limited pleaded guilty to eight offences alleging 40 instances of non-compliance with the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Regulations 1994 committed by its store in Bowen, Queensland.

The prosecution is the result of an audit and follow-up investigations by inspectors from the National Registration Authority for Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (NRA) which is responsible for ensuring compliance on agvet products up to and including the point of retail sale.

HGPs are a group of veterinary drugs used by cattle producers to increase weight gain and the efficiency of food conservation in cattle.

The Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Regulations 1994 requires a supplier of HGPs to keep accurate records of distribution. The offences by Wesfarmers Dalgety breached sections 48 and 51 of the AgVet Code Regulations 1994.

"This is the highest penalty in Australia so far for a HGP offence", the NRA's Head of Surveillance and Enforcement, Stephen McDonald, said.

"The Bowen store was unable to account for a number of HGP doses which added to the seriousness of the offences."

Some countries which import Australian beef and beef products require that these imports are HGP free. To assure these countries that Australian beef is HGP free, Commonwealth and State authorities have implemented a system to control the distribution and use of HGPs.

"Therefore, being able to track the movement of all HGPs through accurate records is essential," said Mr McDonald. "In the case of HGPs, the records are simple to complete."

"Failing to keep accurate records can result in Australia's reputation as a producer of safe, high quality beef and other agricultural produce being compromised."

For interview and further information, please contact:

Steve McDonald, 02 6272 4298