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Australia's food chain safer and more secure.



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ATTORNEY-GENERAL THE HON PHILIP RUDDOCK MP

NEWS RELEASE

Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600 • Telephone (02) 6277 7300 • Fax (02) 6273 4102 www.law.gov.au/ag

1 May 2006  070/2006

 

AUSTRALIA’S FOOD CHAIN SAFER AND MORE SECURE 

The Australian community should feel reassured about the safety of the food chain  with the development of a new strategy to protect it from deliberate intervention  including by terrorists, Attorney‐General Philip Ruddock said today. 

The National Food Chain Safety and Security Strategy has been prepared by The Food  Chain Assurance Advisory Group of the Australian Government’s Trusted  Information Sharing Network (TISN). 

“This Strategy recognises that in addition to the traditional threats of natural  disaster, disease and contamination, our security could be challenged by those who  would quite maliciously disrupt our food supply,” Mr Ruddock said. 

“While a document of this nature cannot be made public, my advice is that the  approach and initiatives outlined in this report to further protect our food supply are  smart and achievable and are built on good business sense.  

“I encourage Australia’s food producers to embrace this strategy and put it into  practice. 

“This strategy is another important piece of work produced through the TISN and  reflects the Government’s continuing commitment to strengthen our defences against  those who would seek to harm us,” Mr Ruddock said. 

The Food Chain Assurance Advisory Group was formed in 2003 after Australia’s  food chain was declared part of Australia’s critical infrastructure. It is estimated  Australia’s food exports contribute as much as $24 billion in foreign revenue and  provides jobs for more than a million people. 

The Food Chain Assurance Advisory Group undertook a strategic assessment of the  existing food safety and security arrangements in Australia. The Strategy was then  produced to address key potential gaps and vulnerabilities identified by that  assessment. 

 

Media Contact:  Charlie McKillop  0419 278 715 

Details on Food Chain Advisory Group attached

AUSTRALIA’S FOOD CHAIN SAFER AND MORE SECURE 2

Food Chain

Assurance Advisory Group

Background Information on the Food Chain Safety and Security Strategy

Australia’s agricultural and food industries are a large and vital part of the economy. They make a major contribution to social, economic and political wellbeing, creating important business opportunities and employment, especially in rural and regional areas. They are an essential element of our national infrastructure.

Australia’s food safety and security systems and food regulatory arrangements are world class. However, the global security environment has changed, particularly since the events of September 11, 2001. The new business reality now includes the risk of deliberate, politically motivated intervention. The potential for acts of deliberate and malicious intervention or contamination in the food supply has been recognised and raised world-wide by the World Health Organisation.

The Food Chain Assurance Advisory Group was formed in 2003 recognising that the food supply chain is a critical component of our national infrastructure. The Group forms part of the government - industry partnership initiative, the Trusted Information Sharing Network for the protection of critical infrastructure. More information about the TISN can be obtained at www.tisn.gov.au The membership of the Group is attached.

The Food Chain Assurance Advisory Group has undertaken a strategic assessment of the food safety and security arrangements to identify potential gaps and vulnerabilities in the event of acts of deliberate and malicious intervention or contamination. As a result of this assessment, the Group developed the Food Chain Safety and Security Strategy to address the key gaps and vulnerabilities

identified. Actions needed to enhance our preparedness to respond to the potential for acts of deliberate and malicious intervention or contamination are identified under six themes:

• Communication and Consultation • Coordination • Prevention • Preparedness • Response • Recovery The strategy recognises that the food supply chain is potentially at risk and vulnerable. It also acknowledges that it is neither possible nor economically sensible to attempt to deal with every risk. However, in the new global security environment, there is a need to be ever mindful of new and emerging risks. It recognises the need to encourage an awareness of these new risks and the need to sustain a culture of security awareness across all sectors of the industry. The Strategy aims to enhance the safety and security of Australia’s food supply.

More information about the strategy can be obtained by contacting the office of the chair of the Food Chain Group, Mr Dick Wells, at the Australian Food and Grocery Council on (02) 6273 1466.

Copies of the Strategy are being distributed to the owners and operators of businesses in the food supply chain through industry networks and to relevant government agencies. Copies can also be obtained by contacting Alan Edwards at the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry on (02) 6272 4513 or at alan.edwards@affa.gov.au

AUSTRALIA’S FOOD CHAIN SAFER AND MORE SECURE 3

Membership of the Food Chain Assurance Advisory Group

Senior executives of the following industry organisations and government agencies are members of the Group:

Chairperson: Mr Dick Wells, Chief Executive of the Australian Food and Grocery Council

Members: Industry

• National Association of Commodity Marketing Associations • Australian Chicken Meat Federation • Dairy Australia • Australian Food and Grocery Council • Australian Pork Limited • Australian Seafood Industry Council • Croplife Australia • Animal Health Alliance • Horticulture Australia Limited • Meat and Livestock Australia • Australian Meat Industry Council • National Farmers’ Federation • Packaging Council of Australia • Refrigerated Warehouse and Transport Association • Safefood Queensland • Coles Myer Limited • Metcash Limited • Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry • Australian Food Safety Centre of Excellence • State and Territory Critical Infrastructure Advisory Council

members or their representatives

Australian Government Agencies

• Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry • Department of Transport and Regional Services • Department of Health and Ageing • Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources • Food Science Australia • Food Standards Australia New Zealand

Australian Government observers:

• Attorney-General’s Department including ASIO • Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The secretariat to the Group is provided by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.