Technical Compliance Consultants Ltd (NZ) Emphasizes on New Organisms
TCC(NZ), premiere HSNO consultant in land of the Kiwis emphasizes on explaining the legal significance of the New Organism in the Hazardous Substance and New Organisms Act 1996 and amendments made thereon for easier compliance with the provisions of the enactment. But what constituted a new organism? How was it treated earlier? TCC(NZ) clarifies the picture in the following fashion for the benefit of their numerous clients.
For more than a couple of decades, there was a blanket ban on importation of honey and sundry bee products (bee’s wax, etc) from Australia in New Zealand. However, the ban was subsequently lifted in 2006 when the Director-General of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MAF) issued Import Health Standard under the prevailing BioSecurity Act which allowed the importation of the honey.
But lo and behold, this move initiated by the MAF was challenged forthwith by the National Beekeeper’s Association which brought an application for judicial review on the ground that the imported honey contained a potentially harmful bacterium known as Paenibacillus alvei (P.alvie) not previously identified as being present in the country.
The key issue in the court matter evidently related to the question: whether P. alive was a New Organism.
The result was more dramatic than the issue itself. In the high court, Simon France J flatly rejected the Bee Keepers’ Association’s submission that according to law prevailing in the country that approval under HSNO act was necessary, while accepting the submission by MAF that an approval under HSNO was not needed for the new organism that was merely a ‘passenger’ organism loosely associated with the importation.
However, TCC(NZ) also harps on the expediency of the amendments that were made to HSNO Act operations to be more helpful in terms of compliance.
For instance, they would allow ERMA (Environmental Risk Management authority) to make decisions on the risk posed by an organism at the sub-species or genus level as well as at the species level – a modification that is significant for organisms such as bacteria, where some sub-species or strains within the same species are highly toxic to humans and animals while others are perfectly harmless.
Other amendments have instituted more realistic timelines, whenever needed, for ERMA to publicly notify its decisions and allow the authority the ability to order prompt compliance where enforcement officers have issued compliance orders for breach of the regulations. As of now, compliance orders do not take effect for, at earliest, four days – except in an emergency situation, such as a chemical spill.
They also give ERMA the power to declare that an organism is “no longer new” in issues where the organism does not have a HSNO approval but is well-established and is not part of any eradication program. However, the Ministry holds that this provision does not mean that smuggling is in any way will be condoned.
Ever since the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act was promulgated in New Zealand, people felt more concerned about the New Organisms part of it than the hazardous substances about which they felt fairly familiar with. However, series of Amendments and relentless elucidation conducted by TCC(NZ) had a profound effect on the general masses who eventually managed to comply with the provisions of the law, both in terms of hazardous substances as well as the new organisms.