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Government's plan to remove ban on importing beef from countries which have had Mad Cow Disease huge.

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Rowan Ramsey, MP  Federal Member for Grey 

Government’s plan to Remove Ban on Importing Beef from Countries which have had Mad Cow Disease Huge

Sunday, March 14, 2010

In a joint media release on October 20, 2009 Ministers Burke, Crean and Roxon stated they were scrapping the ban on imported beef from countries which have had BSE (Mad Cow Disease) outbreaks from March 1, 2010. Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey has echoed the widespread concern about this decision from within

the Australian beef industry.

“The future and reputation of Australia’s beef industry is paramount and must be protected at all costs,” he said. “At the very least the Minister for Agriculture must demand equivalency with current Australian standards, which would mean that any country which has had a BSE outbreak must have an equivalent to Australia’s National Livestock Identification Scheme (NLIS) in place before they can import beef into Australia.

“Under the Rudd Government, Australian beef producers will have to produce beef to a higher standard than imported beef from countries which have had a BSE outbreak and this is not fair. “Our industry legally requires an NLIS to sell beef to Australian consumers and it is ridiculous to suggest that we should lower the bar and allow beef in from countries which have lower food safety and quarantine standards than our own producers.

Mr Ramsey said the Australian beef industry is the envy of many beef producing countries and the strict protocols which govern the industry have set an impeccable standard for food safety, disease control and as a marketing tool. “The Coalition has been concerned about the lack of consultation and the secrecy surrounding the Government’s decision to abolish the ban on beef imports from countries which have had a BSE outbreak,” Mr Ramsey said.

“We have instigated a Senate inquiry into the importation of beef from BSE countries. The Senate inquiry has uncovered a number of disturbing issues. “The Coalition is alarmed by the Rudd Government’s refusal to release the import protocols before the ban is lifted on the 1st of March, 2010. “Our beef industry is worth billions of dollars, supports hundreds of towns and communities, and thousands of jobs would be at destroyed if there was a BSE outbreak in Australia.

“The nation’s clean, green disease free status is invaluable and quarantine is too important be ignored it is disgraceful the Minister for Agriculture is prepared to play Russian roulette with our beef industry.

“His refusal to demand an Import Risk Assessment and update the import protocols for all countries which are currently banned from importing beef into Australia because they have had BSE outbreaks is a disgrace.”

Media Contact Leonie Lloyd-Smith (08) 8633 1744 February 24, 2010