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Importation of cheese



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No.215

. PRESS STATEMENT BY THE COMMONWEALTH MINISTER '

' . FOR HEALTH, DR. A.J. FORBES

; IMPORTATION OF CHEESE

' The Minister for Health, Dr. Forbes, announced

to-day that a new proclamation would be gazetted this week

to guard specifically against the possible importation of

foot and mouth disease by means of meat contained in cheese

or cheese packed.in animal tissue.

Dr. Forbes· said the existing quarantine legis­

lation guarded against this possibility in a general sense

in that it severely restricted the importation of meat,

other than cooked meat, and prohibited the importation of

goods contained in urinary bladders.

The new proclamation would refer specifically to

cheese containing meat and cheese packed in animal tissue.

Dr·. Forbes said a proposal was considered some

18 months ago to require that all imported cheese must'be

made from pasteurised milk, as a safeguard against the

introduction of brucellosis. Legislation imposing this

condition was withdrawn when exporting countries and cheese

importers pointed out technical difficulties which would be

experienced in complying with it. The problem of ensuring

adequate protection against the introduction of brucellosis

in cheese was referred back to the National Health and

Medical Research Council, on whose recommendation the

regulation was introduced. This question, which .had proved

to be extremely complex, was■ still under consideration by

the N.II.M.R.C. and several of its specialist committees, as

well as by the industry itself. It-appeared probable, at

this stage, that the situation could be met by requiring

heat treatment of milk used in the manufacture of cheese,

or by storage of cheese for a specified period before its

importation. '

2.

Dr. Forbes said the new quarantine proclamation

would authorise the importation by air of milk and certain

milk products, also cream, butter and ice cream, from New

Zealand, Canada, the United States, Northern Ireland and

Ireland. These products could hitherto be imported only

from New Zealand, Canada, and the United States, and only

by sea. '

Prepared infants' food, consisting of milk or

containing milk in any form, which previously could be

imported only from New Zealand, Canada and the United States,

and only by sea, except when carried by a passenger in

charge of an infant under two, could in future be imported

from Northern Ireland and Ireland as well as from New

Zealand, Canada and the United States, and could be imported

from all five countries by air as well as by sea»

Canberra, March 25> 1968.

Dept. No. 17