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.”by