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No cause for alarm on Australian meat standards



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7RESS

MINISTER FOR -/,

ST T M E PRIMARY I NDUSTRY

NO CAUSE FOR ALARM ON AUSTRALIAN MEAT STANDARDS

Organisms in Australian mutton to which the Americans were objecting were not harmful to humans, the Minister for Primary Industry, Mr. Anthony, said in. the House of Representatives.

"Any talk that our meat is not wholesome or that it

contains organisms harmful to human beings is not correct," he said.

"However, the U.S. Administration will not allow any

meat with evidence of these organisms to enter the country."

Mr. Anthony was replying to Mr. McIvor (Lab., Vic.), who asked him if overwork among meat inspectors was the cause of a, decline in inspection standards for export meat.

Mr. Anthony said: "What Mr. Mclvor says about the inspection staff at meat-forks is quite true.

"There is a severe shortage of inspectors. They are required to work overtime.

"In many instances I have not been able to give them their annual leave because giving it to them would have meant meatworks hiving to close down because they would not have been able to operate to the standards necessary to meet export requirements.

"So we have a major problem. We have been trying desperately to recruit more inspectors.

We have recruited more, but we seem to be losing them as fast is we recruit them.

"This is a matter that gives me great concern, and we are doing all we can to try to cope with it."

Mr. Anthony said Australian mutton had been rejected by the United States because it was not meeting the standards laid down under the U.S. Wholesome Meat Act.

It had been rejected because it was unclean. Particles of foreign matter had been found in the meat, as well as

certain organisms which were objectionable to the U.S.

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"But I would like to make it clear to the House that

our inspection standards are high," Mr. Anthony said.

"They were laid down originally to meet the British

requirements.

"Any talk that the meat is not wholesome or that it

contains organisms harmful to human beings is not correct.

"There has been quite a lot of talk about caseaus lymph adenitis and cysticercus ovis, which have been detected.

"These are not harmful to human beings. However, the U.S.

Administration will now allow any meat with evidence of them

to enter the country."

Mr. Anthony said the main problem Australia had with its

mutton chains was in trying to correlate the viscera with the

carcass.

"Many of our abattoirs are not geared to do this," he said.

He said industry representatives at a meeting in Canberra of the Meat Industry Advisory Committee had said that some of the requirements being asked of them were almost impossible to meet.

''Wo propose to try to find some sort of compromise between the standards the U.S. Department of Agriculture wants and the standards we are able to prescribe," Mr. Anthony said.

"I conclude by saying that I am very conscious of the inspection problem and will do whatever I can to solve it."

CANE El

1 5th Nay, 1970