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Wednesday, 19 March 1980
Page: 857

Senator Kilgariff asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice, on 27 February 1 980:

(   1 ) Has an Australian Government authority been accused of selling dairy products in Asia, knowing them to be a serious health risk to babies, and has it also been alleged that the Australian Dairy Corporation, through its subsidiaries and joint venture operations in South-East Asia was involved in the matter, as reported in Bulletin Today (Manila, Philippines), 3 February 1980.

(2)   Is there any substance to these allegations; if so, what, if any, action has been taken to rectify the matter.

Senator Scott - The Acting Minister for Primary Industry has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(   1 ) Recent articles in two Australian consumer journals have commented critically on the promotion of sweetened condensed milk in South East Asia as baby food. The articles, which prompted press comment in Australia and in some Asian countries, made references to the sale of products by the Australian Dairy Corporation (ADC) through its subsidiary Asia Dairy Industries (Hong Kong) Limited (ADI) and joint venture companies in South East Asia.

(2)   The Minister for Primary Industry has conveyed to the ADC his views that if the claims made in the articles are substantiated then the Corporation should use its influence to ensure that sweetened condensed milk is not promoted as a suitable food for babies. The ADC and ADI are currently examining the claims made in the two articles with a view to determining action necessary by them.

Independently of this, steps have been taken to delete the reference to infant feeding on the brand marketed in Hong Kong and the manufacturer of sweetened condensed milk exported from Thailand has agreed to make similar changes.

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