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Company fined over poor record keeping on Hormone Growth Promotants

NRA 00/2 NRA Press release 4 February 2000

The importance of Australia's Hormone Growth (HGP) Promotants' Control System in maintaining exports to the European Union was highlighted in a recent court case when a Victorian chemical company was fined $1,000 and $453 to cover costs for keeping inaccurate records about the supply of HGPs.

The company pleaded guilty to 10 charges relating to offences against the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Regulations. The offences occurred in 1998 and the charges were laid by the National Registration Authority for Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (NRA). The Victorian Department of Natural Resources and Environment assisted the NRA during the investigations.

"The NRA has put in place rigorous processes for tracking the supply of HGPs," NRA Head of
Surveillance and Enforcement, Steve McDonald, said. "Australia has a HGP Control System established in response to the European Union (EU) decision not to accept any beef or beef products that have been treated with HGPs.

"The system uses records and audit trails to ensure that Australia's beef and beef product exports to the EU are free of HGPs," he said. "Therefore accurate record keeping by HGP suppliers and the NRA's auditing role are critical to maintaining Australia's good reputation as an international trader."

"Monthly records on HGPs must be sent to the NRA's State Coordinator within two weeks of the following month," Mr McDonald said. "The company did not comply and it was many months before the NRA received the documentation."

Companies supplying HGPs must obtain a declaration from the purchaser:

that the product will be used in accordance with State laws;

how much product will be used; and

which properties the product will be used on.

"This latest NRA success reinforces the message to HGP suppliers that we are serious about protecting the Australia's overseas trade, particularly to a market as important as the EU," said Mr McDonald.

"The NRA has now re-audited the company's record and have accounted for all HGP products.

"Immediately the issue was discovered, the company developed and put in place strict procedures to ensure a similar situation didn't occur again in the future and the NRA commends the quick action taken," Mr McDonald said.

The Magistrate acknowledged the company's action and imposed only a fine and no conviction.