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Wednesday, 10 May 1961

Dr Donald Cameron (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - In the first place, it should be clearly understood that no importations of meat of any kind, other than cooked canned meats, are at any time permitted other than from New Zealand, where this disease is not present. Canned meat is subject to the most rigorous quarantine precautions. I outlined them in the House the other day. A certificate has to be given by a veterinary surgeon in the country of origin that the meat has been inspected and declared free of disease, both ante-mortem and post-mortem; that it has been canned in an hermetically sealed can, and that every portion of the contents of the can has been heated to at least 100 degrees centigrade. This, again, has to be certified by a veterinary surgeon after the canner's certificate has been given that the sterilizing process has been properly carried out. There can be no doubt at all that whatever source of infection may reach Australia it cannot be in canned meat. There would be no purpose in adding a ban to our quarantine precautions on the importation of canned meat. We believe that quarantine regulations are, in themselves, completely effective. It is only the evasion of them, either wilfully or by negligence, which can permit the entry of this disease or other diseases. The quarantine procedures do not need to be improved; if anything, they need to be administered with more vigilance. I know of no instance in which they have not been followed with proper vigilance, but, just as opium can be smuggled into the country, there is always the possibility that food of animal origin can find its way past the animal quarantine regulations and enter Australia.

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