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Imported Food Control Amendment (Bovine Meat) Bill 2010

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2010

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imported Food Control Amendment (Bovine Meat) Bill 2010

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

Circulated by authority of

Robert Oakeshott MP



Imported Food Control Amendment (Bovine Meat) Bill 2010

 

 

OUTLINE

  

Recently the Rudd Labor Government announced it will alter its policy regarding the importation of beef from countries that have reported incidence of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE).

 

The Red Meat Advisory Council of Australia reported that the recent changes in the incidence of reported BSE cases and scientific evidence in this field have prompted the change in policy:

 

In 2001 due to the lack of scientific information on BSE, its infection path within livestock and the possible links to variant CJD in human beings the Australian Government  introduced a policy that unilaterally banned imports of beef and beef products from BSE-affected countries. This policy was accepted by industry at the time given the limited knowledge we had about the disease and its spread.

 

Much has since been learned about the disease and today there is unequivocal scientific evidence that supports a change to the above Australian policy. This change is in line with most major trading countries around the world that have put in place more modern safeguards while ensuring their countries remain well protected. [1]

 

There is strong support for the implementation of this change in policy. However, it is important that imported bovine meat is subject to the same traceability standards that Australian meat products are subject to and that the consumer is informed of the origin of the bovine meat product, allowing them the ability to make an informed choice about what meat they consume.

 

The purpose of this bill is to ensure the protection of consumers against the risk of exposure to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) from imported bovine meat.

 

There are two amendments to this bill which change current import standards for bovine products. They are:

 

  1. Food labelling standards:

The new food labelling standard will require the packaging of any imported bovine product to clearly display to the consumer  the country of origin of the meat and the last recorded case of BSE in that country.

 

  1. Tracing Systems:

That a food control certificate can not be issued for any imported bovine meat product or any imported food product that includes bovine meat unless  that meat has originated from a country that has a cattle identification and tracing system for bovine meat products that are to be exported to Australia.

 

 

 

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

The Bill will have no financial impact.

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1- Short title

 

This clause provides for the Act, when it is enacted, to be cited as Imported Food Control Amendment (Bovine Meat) Act 2010.

 

Clause 2 - Commencement

 

This clause provides for the commencement of the Act on the day on which it receives the Royal Assent.

 

Clause 3 - Schedule(s)

 

This clause states that each Act that is specified within Schedule 1 is amended or repealed according to the terms set out within the Schedule.

 

 

Schedule 1 - Safeguards against imported bovine spongiform encephalopathy

 

Item 1: Section 2A:

Changes the object of the act to include for the provision of informing consumers as well as the requirements of public health and safety.

 

Item 2: Section 3:

Inserts BSE into the Act to mean bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

 

Item 3: After subsection 8A(1):

Provides for the labelling of bovine meat imported into Australia to include the country of origin of the meat and the last recorded case of BSE in the country of origin.

 

Item 4: After subsection 11(1) :

 Provides that a food control certificate cannot be issued to an imported bovine meat product unless the authorised officer is satisfied that the country of origin has cattle identification and tracing systems from birth to slaughter.

 

Item 5: After subsection 35A(2) :

Provides that a compliance agreement cannot be issued for an imported bovine meat product unless the Secretary is satisfied that the country of origin has cattle identification and tracing systems from birth to slaughter.

 




[1] Mr Ian McIvor, Information Piece: The Change in the Federal Government’s BSE Policy , Chairman, Red Meat Advisory Council Ltd, 19 February 2010