FGC has twice written to the government of the day urging a review of New Zealand’s law regarding malicious tampering of food, beverages, pharmaceuticals and other consumer goods to ensure it is fit for purpose, particularly in terms of penalties.
In 2015, we wrote to the Minister of Justice and the Minister for Food Safety suggesting such a review. We included a legal paper analysis done for us by law firm Simpson Grierson.
Though the analysis followed the threat to contaminate baby formula with 1080 poison, which caused many millions of dollars in economic losses to the New Zealand industry, it was not a direct result of it. Rather it followed feedback FGC had received over the years from members that the law did not adequately deal with all aspects of tampering and could be strengthened.
The analysis identified gaps in the law and offered advice regarding potential reforms.
We were advised that the law was adequate and there was no need for a review or for any further work to be done.
In October 2018, following the ‘needles in strawberries’ issues in Australia and further copycat incidents there and in New Zealand, we wrote to the (new) Government, again suggesting a review of the law. We again included the Simpson Grierson analysis.
In November 2018, the Minister for Food Safety responded that an MPI review in response to the 2015 analysis had found there were a wide range of offences and penalty provisions that could be used to address such incidences, and said “Our position on this matter has not changed and our laws have continued to be fit for purpose.”
FGC still holds position that there is a need to review the law.