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Tuesday, 20 October 1964

Senator HENTY - On the 24th September, Senator Prowse asked me in my capacity as Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Industry, a question without notice regarding the marketing of Australian foodstuffs in the United Kingdom and referred in particular to certain allegations contained in a letter entitled " Marketing methods for our produce abroad" which was published in the "West Australian " on the 23rd September. I advised Senator Prowse that I would refer the question to the Minister for Trade and Industry for investigation and he has now provided the following information -

All butter sold in Britain under the Kangaroo label is entirely of Australian origin. Kangaroo brand butter is shipped to Britain in bulk by the Australian Dairy Produce Board whose London representative arranges retail packing by a limited number of packers who have been approved by the Commonwealth Department of Primary Industry. The operations of these packers are closely supervised by inspectors and there is no possibility of Polish butter, or any other butter for that matter being blended with Australian butter and sold under the Kangaroo brand.

Australian honey is shipped in bulk to the United Kingdom: blended there by packers with honey from other countries and sold retail in packs which, by United Kingdom law, cannot carry a label indicating that they contain honey of Australian origin.

Wines bottled in the United Kingdom by the Emu Wine Company Pty. Ltd. and sold under the Emu label are entirely Australian in origin. The Emu Wine Company Pty. Ltd. is the largest single shipper of Australian Wines to the United Kingdom and, as in the case of butter, it is contrary to United Kingdom law to label wines as being of Australian origin if they are blended with other wines. According to the Australian Wine Board, there is no evidence to suggest that any Australian wines are blended with wines from other countries.

Australian fresh fruit is sold in the United Kingdom under a variety of labels because the export of Australian fruit is carried out by a number of individual exporters. In the case of South Africa and Israel however, the governments of those countries channel their orange exports through one central export organisation which is therefore in a position to supply against a limited number of specific brands. Australia, however, is only a small exporter of oranges to the United Kingdom, shipments amounting to only 2,306 bushels during 1963-64, but Australia's oranges are exported in individual wrappers which indicate both brand and quality, whilst the fruit itself is usually stamped with the exporter's brand.

Apples and pears are the main fruits which Australia exports to Britain, and the 1963-64 shipping season was a record one with four million cases of apples and one million cases of pears being sold to that country. Australia has a 20 per cent, share of the British import market for pears and a 31 per cent, shane of the import market for apples. The quality of our export packs is considered by importers to bc of a very high standard.

As is also the case with New Zealand, Australian beef shipments to the United Kingdom in recent years have been mainly in the form of frozen beef because the price margin between chilled and frozen beef has not been sufficient to encourage exporters to undertake the additional handling and shipping costs involved in exporting chilled beef.

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