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Importation of Unregistered Veterinary Chemical Proves Costly

02/2 17 May 2002

Pioneer Seafood's Pty Ltd has been convicted in the Brisbane Magistrate's Court of importing an unregistered veterinary chemical product for use on live fish. The company pleaded guilty and was fined $6,500.

The prosecution follows an investigation by the National Registration Authority for Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (NRA), the government statutory authority responsible for the regulation of supply of agricultural and veterinary products into the Australian marketplace.

The NRA's Head of Compliance, Stephen McDonald, said the unregistered product contained the antibiotic, sodium nifurstyrenate. Due to a lack of information on the products safety, this antibiotic is not registered for use on food-producing animals in Australia.
'Registration provides a stamp of security that the products have been scientifically evaluated to ensure they are safe, effective and won't harm Australia's trade,' Mr McDonald said.

'The importation of unregistered products is of considerable concern. This prosecution sends a compelling message to those importing, supplying or using unregistered products that not only are they putting themselves, consumers and trade at risk, but they will be caught and prosecuted.'

'The NRA will continue focusing its attention on the customs barrier with the intention of detecting the supply of unregistered chemicals as they enter Australia,' Mr McDonald said.

More Information
Stephen McDonald on 02 6272 4298


The NRA's Quality Assurance and Compliance Program

The National Registration Authority for Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (NRA) regulates the supply of agricultural and veterinary chemical products into the Australian marketplace.

Before an agricultural or veterinary chemical product can be supplied or used in Australia it must first be registered with the NRA. Registration entails rigorous scientific evaluation to ensure that the chemical product is safe, effective, won't result in environmental damage or jeopardise trade. The NRA also approves the product labels that appear on registered products.

The NRA is required by law to ensure that agricultural and veterinary chemical products in the marketplace are supplied in line with the provisions of Australia's Agvet Code (the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code scheduled to the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Act 1994). It seeks to meet this requirement through its Quality Assurance and Compliance Program.

The Program aims at preventing the use of unregistered products by

  • promoting a greater awareness and understanding of registration and compliance requirements;
  • investigating alleged breaches of the legislation; and
  • publishing a wide range of standards and guidelines, such as registration guidelines, product labeling codes and product recall guidelines.

Compliance activities give confidence to the user that the products are safe and effective when used as directed as well as giving suppliers confidence in the products they sell.

When cases of non-compliance have been identified, the NRA first checks the validity of the claim. If a breach is confirmed, the NRA may apply one or a combination of enforcement strategies. These may include warnings, requests/directives for product recall/re-labeling or prosecution.

Where the breach poses a hazard to the safety or welfare of humans, animals, or the environment or may jeopardise trade then it may be referred to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). A breach may also be referred if the company or individual has failed to respond positively to NRA directives.