The Australian Government recently made substantial amendments to the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Regulations 1995 (Agvet Code Regulations). These amendments were intended to reduce the impacts of regulation on low risk stock food and pet foods, and are estimated to save $7.8 million per year in regulatory costs. The Government has now released a regulatory impact statement (RIS) in respect of these amendments. The RIS was initially submitted for final assessment in December 2014.
The primary argument made by the RIS is that the cost associated with the stock food regulations inhibits innovation in the industry without improved risk management. This is primarily due to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority’s (APVMA) assessment of stock food, slowing access to the Australian market. The result is increased costs to end-users, reduced profitability in the industry, and lost productivity (noted at approximately $10 per tonne of feed annually). The RIS notes that current stock foods that are considered chemicals products have a “more easily defined and mitigated risk profile” compared to older stock food chemical products such as antibiotics and vaccines which need a much more thorough risk assessment.
The RIS presented 3 options in response to these issues: do nothing, conditionally exclude certain classes of chemical products from the Agvet Code Regulations or listing certain chemicals under the Agvet Code Regulations thus lowering the level of assessment required. When analysing the three options, the RIS strongly favoured the second option of the three. The exclusions were stated to be based on five conditions: that the product is only for voluntary oral consumption by animals; about claims; about quality and standards of manufacture; about product labelling; and about ingredients. These are broadly reflected in the changes introduced by the Commonwealth.