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Thursday, 27 April 1961

Mr Swartz (DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND) z asked the Minister for Health, upon notice -

1.   What steps are -taken by quarantine officers to inspect food items of animal origin which are brought into Australia by people from overseas countries or through overseas postal channels?

2.   Have any recent steps been taken to draw to public attention die potential threat to Australia's live-stock industry which could be caused by the introduction of diseases in these foodstuffs?

Dr Donald Cameron (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   Before arrival at Australia, passengers are obliged to make a customs declaration stating, among other things, whether they have any meat or foods of animal origin with them or in their luggage. On arrival the luggage of persons entering Australia from overseas is carefully examined by customs officers for foods of animal origin. If any are found these together with similar declared items are detained and referred to officers of the Animal Quarantine Service for appropriate action. Similarly, customs officers stationed at post offices detain any item of food of animal origin and refer them to officers of the Animal Quarantine Service. There is a long tradition of co-operation between the customs and quarantine services in these functions, supported of course by legal authority.

2.   This matter has been given considerable publicity in the press from time to time and on 19th March, 1961, I issued a comprehensive statement explaining the risks inherent in persons having friends or relatives overseas send them parcels containing food items of animal origin. This statement was made available Vo metropolitan and provincial daily newspapers which gave it wide publicity. It was also publicized on the radio. In addition, the statement was tent to the editors of 30 foreign language and farm newspapers throughout Australia.

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