Court documents obtained by The Telegraph show how the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) overlooked a recommendation from the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) to carry out testing for a banned substance for beef destined for the coveted European market.
A savingram dated 09/December/ 2009 signed by DVS Head of Residues Sandy Mookantsa titled “to whom it may concern,” states that “this serves to inform you that the laboratory does not carry out testing salinomycin since it is not in the Residue Monitoring Plan for European Union market.”
In a related matter, Former BMC Chief Executive Officer Motshudi Raborokgwe wrote to former Director of DVS Phillimon Motsu warning that “BMC had a feedlot meeting in Francistown last Thursday. One of the presenters was Voermol Feeds from South Africa.”
Raborokgwe said among the feeds products Voermol Feeds sold into Botswana for use by the feedlots in Botswana is “voermol beefmaker.”
“I’m informed that it is a medicated feed containing salinomycin…There is a possibility that other feeds sold and used in Botswana could also contain medicated products. Could you please look into this as a matter of urgency to ensure that we are compliant with EU compliant export requirements.”
Replying, Motsu said that “We talked about the issue of banned substances feeds. We shall avail the list of banned and controlled substances to yourselves.”
Motsu explained that the particular items were both controlled substances in the national residue control plan. This meant the substances had maximum residue limits which could not be exceeded.
“Therefore it will be useful to ensure that feed used for this purpose is always sampled and tested. That way, we can as the regulatory authority confirm the absence of banned substances in feed according to our legislation,” said Motsu. He added that the importer will have to meet the cost of testing.
“Otherwise the substance/feed can be used provided we have a sampling plan in place to ensure compliance,” said Motsu.