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Thursday, 21 May 1970

Mr ANTHONY - I can understand the honourable member's interest in this matter, he being, as he said, an ex-butcher, but I was under the impression that he was a medical practitioner. The standards that have been laid down by the United States Administration regarding imports of meat are the same as have applied with respect to federal registration of abattoirs within the United States. Quite a political debate is ensuing in the United States regarding registration of abattoirs and the general standards of meat preparation in the country. In the United States no meat may pass across State borders unless it comes from abattoirs which have federal registration. It is this provision that has produced the conflict amongst the American States, the meat industry and the United States Government. The American authorities are quite emphatic that they will not allow meat to be imported into the country from abattoirs wilh a standard lower than that required of their own abattoirs seeking federal registration.

The meat that has been rejected so far by the United States has been rejected because it contained particles of foreign matter. In other words, it was unclean. The meat also contained certain organisms which are objectionable by United States standards. As I have already mentioned in the House, these organisms - caseaus lymph adenitis and cysticercus ovis - are harmless to humans. We have been eating this meat for years in Australia. It is acceptable by British standards. On health grounds I see no reason to object to it, but the American authorities consider it objectionable and they will not allow it to come into the country. That is why for the time being they have placed a temporary ban on all mutton entering America. I am hopeful that Australian abattoirs which are affected by the ban can be brought up to a standard acceptable to the American authorities and that we can improve our inspection procedures so that the objectionable organisms may be excluded from our mutton.

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