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Friday, 1 May 1987
Page: 2481

(Question No. 5172)


Mr Scott asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice, on 17 March 1987:

(1) Has the Minister's attention been drawn to a joint publication, issued in 1981, by the FAO, WHO, and the International Atomic Energy Agency entitled Wholesomeness of Irradiated Food.

(2) Was Australia represented on the expert committee which drew up this document; if so, by whom.

(3) Has the document been accepted by FAO; if so, when, and was Australia represented at the FAO meeting when it was accepted.

(4) If it has been accepted by FAO, was the Minister's Department asked to comment on it before it was accepted; if so, when.

(5) Is the Minister able to say whether any further documents have been issued by the joint expert committee; if so, (a) when, (b) what are they and (c) what action has been taken on them.


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

(1) Yes.

(2) The Joint FAO/IAEA/WHO Expert Committee on the Wholesomeness of Irradiated Food which convened in Geneva during 27 October to 3 November 1980 comprised experts who were selected by FAO/IAEA/WHO because of their specialised knowledge and experience in the field of food irradiation. They serve in a personal capacity, rather than as representatives of governments or other bodies. The publication indicates that an Australian, Professor M. J. Rand, University of Melbourne, attended and chaired the meeting.

(3) and (4) Page 1 of the publication states that the `report contains the collective views of an international group of experts and does not necessarily represent the decisions or the stated policy of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency, or the World Health Organisation'.

(5) I am advised that my Department is not aware of any further documents issued by the Expert Committee. As outlined in the introduction to the publication, related meetings sponsored by FAO/IAEA/WHO were held in 1961, 1964, 1969 and 1976.