12 Mar 2015

Government tightens 1080 controls

7:42 am on 12 March 2015

The government has moved quickly to tighten controls on 1080, following the threat to lace infant formula with the poison.

Infant formula on display at Thorndon New World, Wellington.

Infant formula on display at Thorndon New World, Wellington. Photo: RNZ

It has changed regulations to make it illegal for anyone to possess the extremely toxic high purity form of 1080 without the approval of the Environmental Protection Authority.

Environment Minister Nick Smith said the controls on 1080 were already robust, but the additional restrictions would make it easier to track the distribution and use of the poison, in particular the small quantities that laboratories are allowed to have for research purposes.

"My information is that there is about a dozen research labs that would have high grade 1080 in very small quantities. They're required to have those labs locked, they're required to ensure that they keep tabs on the manufacture and the use of that.

"It's really a belts and braces approach that I'm taking of now, requiring those labs to report back the the Environmental Protection Authority so that we can effectively trace every single gram of this pure grade 1080 in New Zealand."

Dr Smith said he has no information however that suggested the high grade 1080 sent with threatening letters came from a research lab.

Federated Farmers and Fonterra received the letters in November, which threatened to contaminate infant formula products if the use of 1080 for pest control didn't stop by the end of this month.

That triggered a three month police investigation which was only made public this week.

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