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Tuesday, 4 October 1983
Page: 1320

Question No. 192


Mr McVeigh asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice, on 19 May 1983 :

(1) Is it a fact that (a) positive traces of antibiotics have been found in some rinded varieties of imported cheeses and (b) the National Health and Medical Research Council prohibits the use of antibiotics in Australian made cheese or its rind; if so, what action will be taken to ensure that these imports are banned.

(2) Should Australia place stringent conditions on those countries exporting cheese to Australia, similar to the very strict conditions that importing countries place on Australian meat exports; if so, will he move to have these conditions introduced as a matter of urgency.


Mr Kerin —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) (a) Yes. Natamycin has been detected on some rinded varieties of imported cheese.

(b) Yes. The National Health and Medical Research Council is currently considering an application by Australian cheese manufacturers for permission to use Natamycin on rinded cheeses. This, however, does not alter the legal status of the antibiotic which remains prohibited until and unless approved by the Council and subsequently adopted into State and Territory food legislation.

(2) It is agreed that imported cheese should comply with those regulations applied to domestically manufactured foods, as required by State and Territory food legislation. This is essentially a matter controlled by State and Territory food law and is not within the jurisdiction of the Department of Primary Industry.