Bug Business – Biosecurity Newsletter

Biosecurity is a complex compliance issue. Businesses typically like to reduce their time spent on non-core activities. However they cannot afford to ignore compliance based issues.

Bug Business is the AgriChain Centre’s own regular communication tool for Transitional Facilities. We aim to inform and assist in understanding how your business can satisfy Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) requirements in a sound and rational fashion.

Click here to view our archive of previous newsletters, or scroll down to view the latest food safety articles.

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Welcome to our end of May Bug Business

This issue is focused on:

Internal Audit Requirements are Being Enforced

All Internal Audits were required to be submitted via MPI’s on-line portal as of the 4th March 2019.

The deadline has now passed and MPI is sending letters to companies with a notification of intention to suspend facilities. The Transitional Facility Operator needs to carry out regular internal audits (generally annually). In addition, the manual should be reviewed annually or if significant changes have occurred.

Contact our team on 0800 247 424 if you need help with site Internal Audits and meeting compliance requirements.

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New Instant Fines for Transitional Facilities

As of the 15th April 2019, MPI has the option to issue infringement fines when minor non-compliances are identified.  This includes facilities who continue to operate without approval or fail to meet the required operating procedures.

The infringement fee/instant fine for each offence is $400 for an individual and $800 for a corporation.  The infringement fees can be issued without needing to prove that the person intended to commit the non-compliance.

Examples include (but are not limited to):

  • Uncleared goods that are moved without the correct authorisation. This is due to the high level of biosecurity risk involved with this action.
  • If the Transitional Facility has no Approved Operator.
  • Failing to address a Corrective Action Report issued at a verification inspection or identified by a Quarantine Inspector, within the timeframe given.
  • Failing to comply with the operating standards, e.g. releasing uncleared goods or devanning a sea container when the BACC direction states it should remain unopened until a MPI Officer is present.

Most operators and facilities are trying their best to maintain compliance and MPI continues to provide advice and guidance for those actively trying to complete their corrective actions.

However, MPI can prosecute a company or operator when a major non-compliance is identified. The penalties for these situations are considerably larger than the instant fines for minor infringements.

If you have any concerns or queries regarding your corrective action requests, feel free to contact one of our Biosecurity Consultants on 0800 247 424.  We can assist with application forms, corrective action reports where manuals need to be updated or amended and gathering all the required documentation for a change of operator.

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No More Waivers for Transitional Facilities without an Approved Operator

From the 1st April 2019, MPI stopped issuing waivers to TFs without an Approved Operator. MPI will now issue conditional approvals only in extraordinary circumstances for issues outside the control of the TF and which would cause undue hardship. Circumstances that are deemed to meet these criteria are:

  • If the operator passes away or suddenly resigns, a conditional approval can be issued provided that a Deputy Operator is present at the TF and signs the application form declaring any criminal convictions that may affect their ability to operate the TF.
  • If the operator can not attend a training course (outside of their control). For instance, if the course is cancelled or they are on bereavement leave. The conditional approval may be issued provided that the operator has booked to attend the next available course. This approval will come with a specified time limit.
  • If the approval has been held up by MPI processing. Provided that all application forms are submitted within a reasonable timeframe a conditional approval may be granted. This approval will come with a specified time limit.

Outside these scenarios the facility will be suspended under Section 40A of the Biosecurity Act 1993 until the new Operator is approved.

If you have concerns regarding your operator or facility approval, contact our Biosecurity Consultants on 0800 247 424. We can guide you through the whole facility and operator application process.

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Internal Biosecurity Awareness

Transitional Facility Operators (TFOs) need to ensure that all staff have a general awareness of the biosecurity requirements of the site. Biosecurity Awareness is not a training package, nor done to a time frame, so cannot be on an annual basis, rather, it is as required.

This involves the communication of information of biosecurity matters by the TFO to staff. It is also having people aware to advise if they find something at the TF for the TFO to advise MPI.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Circulating the Sea, Contain, Report newsletter to staff on site
  • Biosecurity awareness being part of the induction programme for new employees
  • Discussing biosecurity at regular meetings (toolbox or health and safety).

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Fruit Fly Update

Another male Queensland Fruit Fly was detected in Northcote on the 10th May, one month after the Controlled Area Notice was lifted. This is in addition to an earlier male Queensland fruit fly that was detected in Northcote on the 25th April.

The recent fruit fly detections have prompted MPI to maintain their control measures. Including the baiting of fruit trees, restrictions on the movement of fruit and vegetables and collection of fallen fruit and waste in the Northcote area.

The restriction zone has been divided into Zone A (the area around the latest find) and Zone B (a larger area encompassing the suburb). No organic material can be moved out of Zone A and waste must be securely disposed of by Biosecurity NZ.  For Zone B, no fruit and vegetables grown in the area can be moved outside of the zone. This restriction does not apply to items brought from outside of Zone B.

Queensland Fruit Fly is of particular concern to Biosecurity NZ as New Zealand’s Horticulture Industry is at great risk from this pest; 80% of our crops are susceptible to attack.  Any fruit or vegetables that have been attacked by this fruit fly are no longer edible and cannot be sold. Further, the presence of the Queensland fruit fly, subjects New Zealand to trade restrictions from other countries.

For further information on the Fruit Fly situation go to:

https://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/protection-and-response/responding/alerts/fruit-flies/queensland-fruit-fly/#northcote-under-CAN

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Read the Bug Business (PDF) archives:

Early May 2019

April 2019

August 2018

May 2018