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Wednesday, 30 November 1983
Page: 3081

Question No. 426

Senator Macklin asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice, on 12 October 1983:

(1) Why was the original information about the adulteration of Australian honey released to the Press before conclusive follow-up investigation took place if follow-up investigation into the cause of the adulteration of Australian honey indicated by analysis have generally been inconclusive. (See Hansard, 23 August 1983, page 102).

(2) Why did the Department of Primary Industry decide to release this original information to the Press before discussing it with those involved.

(3) Does the Minister for Primary Industry believe the release of this information was in the best interests of the industry; if so, why.

(4) Has the Department received conclusive evidence that glucose had been added to Australian honey: if so, what is the evidence and if not, why were the original reports issued by the Department.

(5) Is the Government investigating the possibility of replacing the export inspection system in favour of a system of limited random inspection: if so, when does the Minister believe a decision on this will be made.

Senator Walsh —The Minister for Primary Industry has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) to (4) My department was not involved in the release of the information in question. Following the initial media reports, my Department was however approached by sections of the media. They were informed that further work to refine the analytical technique was necessary.

(5) Yes. It is anticipated that the new export inspection system for honey incorporating random sampling based on objective, statistically based methodology, will be fully implemented from 1 October 1984.