Tuesday, 15 January 2019 12:22

Farmers back harsher penalties for food contamination

Written by 
Feds Food Safety spokesperson Andrew Hoggard. Feds Food Safety spokesperson Andrew Hoggard.

Farmers are supporting a bill from National’s Nathan Guy to introduce harsher penalties and offences for those who deliberately contaminate food.

However, any action from it will have to be funded and resourced adequately to have any real impact, says Federated Farmers.

The bill comes in the wake of last year’s Australian strawberry needle scare which triggered copycat offences here and back over the ditch, says Feds Food Safety spokesperson Andrew Hoggard.

Thousands of strawberries had to be destroyed as needles started showing up in the fruit across stores. The needle scares crushed spirits and trust.

However, this is not New Zealand’s first rodeo when it comes to deliberate food contamination, says Hoggard.

In 2016, Jeremy Hamish Kerr was sentenced to eight and a half years for threatening to spike baby formula with 1080.

At the time of sentencing, the New Zealand Herald reported the crime cost the country more than $37 million.

Hoggard says deliberate food contamination, or threats of it, hurt the country’s ability to exist.

"Our country is built on and relies on primary industries to keep the current living standards we all enjoy. We need to be able to trade products safely. Our trading partners need to be able to rely on us. Any threats and attacks on our nation’s ability to function must be treated as what they are - acts of treason, piracy, espionage and corruption.

"You do not deliberately contaminate food without wanting to cause terror. These are deliberate acts designed to cause incredible anxiety and economic sabotage."

Whatever comes of Guy’s bill, he says one thing is certain: if tougher penalties are to be introduced they must be backed with resourcing.

"There’s no point in waving a flag about an issue and then not resourcing organisations such as the police, the judiciary or the Ministry for Primary Industries to follow through with enforcement.

"Politicians at all levels are great at talking about harsher penalties and regulations, but are very relaxed about the details on how those processes will work and how they’ll be funded."

More like this

Water reforms come at a cost

The government’s new freshwater laws, signed off this week, have the potential to create significant unnecessary costs for ratepayers, farmers and entire communities, Federated Farmers says.

Retiring MP’s $2m vote of confidence in dairying

Former Minister for Primary Industries, and retiring MP, Nathan Guy says his plans to invest more than $2 million in a new innovative dairy shed is a vote of confidence in the future of the dairy industry.

Feds’ election wish list

Federated Farmers has released its election manifesto, advising the incoming government on the policies farmers want.

The migrant workers dilemma

Dairy farmers want more Kiwi workers, but they also want relaxed immigration restrictions. So, what's the problem?

Featured

Water reforms come at a cost

The government’s new freshwater laws, signed off this week, have the potential to create significant unnecessary costs for ratepayers, farmers and entire communities, Federated Farmers says.

2020 harvest yields up

Final harvest data for wheat, barley and oats (milling/malting and feed) in 2020 show yields were up 17% overall across the six crops.

 

Difficult but the right call

DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle says the joint decision three years ago to eradicate Mycoplamsa bovis was a difficult call.

Milking cluster milks runner-up award

DeLaval has come away with the runner up prize in this year’s Fieldays Online innovation competition with a new milking cluster that eliminates the need for conventional liner changes.

Glow worms to cows

Thomas Lundman's work focus has gone from tracking tiny critters in pitch black caves to looking after considerably larger animals in paddocks near Whakatane.

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Spell check

Your old mutt was not surprised to see the NZ Dairy Industry Awards hastily remove the title of this year’s…

About time!

Your canine crusader has been a long-time critic of NZ governments – of all stripes – who, for the past…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter