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Monday, 17 September 1973
Page: 1036

Mr ASHLEY-BROWN (MITCHELL, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry whether he has seen published allegations that at this time of meat shortage sales have been made of diseased meat from which the State and Australian governments have benefited. If so, will the Minister assure the House that action will be taken to end such sales, or if the allegations are not true, will he refute the slur on the industry?

Mr GRASSBY - I have not seen any published allegations of the sale of diseased meat but I understand that such allegations have been published because they have been mentioned by a number of honourable members and also by a number of people interested in both the production and consumption of meat. As far as the Australian Government is concerned, the highest possible inspection standards are maintained and there is certainly no slackening of those standards in any shape or form. Meat to be sold for domestic consumption is inspected by State authorities and in some cases by local government authorities. Far from the inspections being slack, the allegation in recent times has been that they have been too tough. When I listened to the honourable member's question my reaction was to answer very briefly, using one word to describe a product of one of the beef animals. However, I resisted that temptation in order specifically to draw attention to the fact that inspection standards of Australian meat for sale at home and abroad are among the highest in the world. The allegations may have arisen because from time to time carcasses that have been delivered have had diseased elements which have been cut out and then the rest of the carcass is used, but the utilisation is carried out under the most stringent conditions and inspections. I refute completely any suggestion that there has been a breakdown or acts of irresponsibility by any authority concerned right through in the handling of meat from producers for sale at home or abroad.

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