The NZ authorities entrusted with your safety are not alarmed by a claim in mainstream media that 1080 pellets are safe to eat

Recently, environmentalist David McDonald contacted HS Safety Compliance in concern over a recent article from Stuff where “Epro operations director Ian Roberts said if they [forestry workers] had touched or even eaten one of the baits it would not have harmed them.” (You can read that article at this link).

David McDonald writes:

“I demand HS Compliance should go to Winston Pulp & paper and find Mr. Ian Roberts, the organizer of this 1080 drop. He is the Director at Epro, and insist that he inform those men that a single 1080 pellet can kill a human & they should all get tested by a Doctor. I think he should be charged with spreading misinformation about “One of the worlds Deadliest Poisons” & the people who told him to say that should also face justice, footnote, An American Hiker who just brushed  past some 1080 jell died the same night. A doctor sent her heart to DOC for testing was astounded when he got no results back & DOC informed him that they had lost her heart.  Her parents back in the USA are still waiting to hear from our Dept of Conservation.”

David McDonald,  Environmentalist

And (predictably) the esteemed people entrusted with public safety regarding the use of poisons responded thus:

I refer the email you sent to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) on 7 May 2019, in relation to the Waimarino aerial drop of 1080 pellets.
I note your concerns regarding 1080, the statement by Mr Ian Roberts and an American hiker. 1080 is a closely monitored and controlled hazardous substance in New Zealand under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 (HSNO). More information about 1080 and its safe use can be found on the EPA website:
The EPA requires all aerial operators to send post-operational reports for all of their activity, with details of every aerial 1080 operation and each year we publish a report using this information. Such reports can be found on our website at the following link:
If you want information about DOC or WorkSafe, I suggest that you contact DOC at enquiries( and WorkSafe through an online submission at

If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us via
Yours sincerely
Dr Fiona Thomson-Carter
General Manager
Hazardous Substances & New Organisms

Ho-hum. One could almost detect a yawn as the good Doctor passes along all responsibility for this.  “Another terrorist/environmentalist”.

I would really like to see these people eat a 1080 pellet in front of us all as proof their smug confidence in its safety is well founded. As the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding … in this case, the pellet.

As an addendum I personally would advise that you err on the side of caution & not eat the pellets. Many have previously noted that NZ prefers not to take the route of the precautionary principle. Better to just plow on & sweep any perceived risks (or evidence) under the proverbial carpet.

Please do take a look at our 1080 tab in the main menu, particularly the sub tab, ‘suspected 1080 poisoning cases’. Very enlightening.

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