John Shirley: SIU visit was a reminder of why the inspection regime has to change
I had unwelcome callers last week. There I was pushing a lawn mower under the baking hot sun when they arrived. "My name is Mr X from the special investigation unit (SIU) of the Department of Agriculture along with my colleague Mr Y," they announced.
Thinking that I am generally compliant and supportive of the rules, I showed my locked-up medicines cabinet. I provided the animal remedies record and the prescription documentation for antibiotics.
The SIU men must have found them interesting since they took away my records, my prescriptions and a couple of part-used bottles of livestock antibiotics. I tried to see which antibiotics bottle the SIU man had taken, but he refused to allow this.
I do not know what will happen next.
Farmers should be aware that having a record of all animal medicines used on the farm is not sufficient.
You must also maintain a register of all medicines purchased and brought onto the farm. Also every prescription medicine bottle or pack must carry the prescription label.
I would have a lot more time for the approach of the HSA (Health and Safety Authority) than that employed by SIU. I also had a fairly recent visit from a HSA inspector.
Again I thought that I was reasonably compliant in this area with guards on tractor PTOs and a safety statement in my possession, so I wasn't unduly worried.