Food safety is in the news again in Europe after a media release from the Pesticide Action Network (PAN) in the EU in February.
All agricultural compounds used in New Zealand must be registered under the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Act 1997, and research and scientific data must accompany the application to prove the product’s safety and effectiveness. This data is currently protected under the Act for five years.
Goodhew says the new Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Amendment Bill 2015 will extend this protection for innovative products (those containing an active ingredient not previously registered) from five years to up to eight years. Non-innovative products, which contain an already registered active ingredient, will have a three-year data protection period.
“Today we took our first step to increase the period of protection for this data,” says Goodhew.
“Access to the latest technologies and effective agricultural chemicals is essential for New Zealand’s primary industries,” she says “We need these products to manage plant and animal pests and keep farm animals healthy.”
The New Zealand market is a small one, and suppliers need time to recover their product development costs before their data is available to competitors says Goodhew. The new Bill will encourage overseas suppliers to register new products and new uses for existing products in New Zealand, she says.
The Bill follows extensive consultation with product suppliers, and primary industry sectors that are keen to see data protection extended.
“This extension to data protection laws will help increase the availability of products needed by our primary industries, whilst still allowing for robust competition in the New Zealand marketplace.”
The Bill will be referred to the Primary Production Committee, which will call for public submissions.