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Friday, 28 November 1986
Page: 4069

(Question No. 4850)


Mr Hunt asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice, on 23 October 1986:

(1) What assurances has he given the leaders of (a) the pig industry and (b) veterinary organisations that the Canadian Government will be asked to conduct trials on the presence of transmissible gastroenteritis in its pigmeat exports.

(2) Will there be no changes made to present importation arrangements for uncanned Canadian pigmeat imports until it is proven beyond any doubt that these imports will be totally free of transmissible gastroenteritis.

(3) Does transmissible gastroenteritis pose a danger to human health.

(4) Is there evidence of transmissible gastroenteritis in nations other than Canada and USA.


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

(1) In answer to representations I have received from the pig industry and veterinary organisations, and following a meeting with their representatives, I advised both the Australian Pork Producers Federation and the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) that I had asked the Canadian agricultural authorities to undertake transmission trials to establish whether transmissible gastroenteritis could be present in the meat of slaughter age pigs in Canada. The Canadian Minister for Agriculture has since advised me that they see no value in such trials as they would, in their view, be time consuming, expensive and unlikely to add to current knowledge of the disease.

(2) In considering the latest advice from Canada, and following discussions with industry, the AVA and scientific staff from the Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) I have asked my Department, in conjunction with industry and AAHL, to consider the feasibility and desirability of organising transmission trials at AAHL. If no agreed experimental protocol, which would advance the knowledge of transmission of TGE and assist in decision making, can be developed, I will decide on the importation on the basis of available evidence.

(3) No-my advice is that TGE does not pose a risk to human health.

(4) TGE is endemic in many major pig producing countries including most of Europe and Asia, Mexico and some South American countries in addition to the USA and Canada.