Thursday, May 25, 2017

Greens congratulate Minister Burke for reversal of mad cow beef import decision

Posted by admin on March 10, 2010

Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, has congratulated Agriculture Minister, Tony Burke, for  listening to the concerns of the community, the Greens and  Opposition parties by reversing his decision to lift the ban on importing beef from countries affected by mad cow disease, or BSE.

Senator Milne had referred the issue to a Senate inquiry last October, immediately after learning that the ban would be lifted. The scrutiny of the decision from the Senate Inquiry has now led to a moratorium on lifting the ban pending a two year import risk analysis.

“Public health and food security are vital and must be protected at all costs. It was disgraceful that the community had been kept in the dark about the fact that they could be eating beef  from a country affected by mad cow disease.

“Consumers have the right to know if meat on supermarket shelves comes from countries which have been affected by BSE.

“As someone who grew up on a dairy farm in North West Tasmania, I am always vigilant about standing up for a healthy environment and the excellent reputation Australia’s food has  around the world for being clean and uncontaminated.

“This reputation is critical for both consumers and producers, and I am very pleased that the Senate inquiry I established has helped deliver this sensible decision.

“Minister Burke was clearly concerned there would be a public outcry against this decision when the beef industry was sworn to secrecy over the decision to lift the ban. He wanted to  push a pure trade agenda based on pleasing overseas trading partners like the USA and Canada before the livelihoods of Australian beef farmers and the health of Australian families.

“Our local beef producers have the right to reassurance, through a full and proper import risk analysis, that their reputation for clean produce will not be undermined.

“The next critical step is for Australia to move rapidly to improve our food labelling laws to make sure consumers know what is in the food they buy and how it was produced.”

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Ban on beef from BSE-affected countries should not be lifted

Posted by admin on February 24, 2010

The ban on importing beef from BSE-affected countries into Australia should not be lifted as planned next week, the Australian Greens said today.

The ban, in place since 2001, is important to protect Australian public health. Australia has a no risk approach which is now to be replaced with a calculated risk.

“The Rudd government has tried to keep this quiet because they know full well that the Australian community does not want to eat beef from BSE affected countries.

“Australians are being asked to take a risk to further a trade agenda that is disconnected from reality,” Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne said.

“Australians deserve to know what they are eating, where it has come from and how it was produced – currently labelling laws fudge the issues.

“Just like the WTO-driven pushes to import Canadian salmon, bananas from the Philippines and New Zealand apples, Australia’s clean reputation is being jeopardised because of Australia’s obsession with free trade rules.

Senator Milne moved for a Senate Inquiry into the lifting of the ban in October 2009.

“Consumers will be particularly concerned that, thanks to our utterly inadequate food labelling laws, they will have no way of telling whether or not the meat they buy is from BSE-free countries.

“The Greens have long believed that we should promote and protect clean, green Australian produce, and protect public health.

“The free trade agenda must not be allowed to put public health and clean markets at risk.

“The ban on beef imports from BSE affected countries should not be lifted.”

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