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Tuesday, 4 October 1983
Page: 1327

Question No. 411

Mr Lloyd asked the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 6 September 1983:

(1) Has his attention been drawn to the concern amongst Australian potato growers that importers of New Zealand potatoes may be breaching the strict quarantine requirement that imported potatoes be immediately processed.

(2) What checks are made by his Department to ensure that quarantine standards are maintained.

Dr Blewett —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) I am aware of the concern expressed by Australian potato growers that New Zealand potatoes imported for processing do not breach the strict quarantine conditions under which importation is permitted. The conditions do not include a specific requirement for immediate processing, however commercial considerations ensure that the imported potatoes are processed as quickly as possible.

(2) Quarantine officers exercise control by inspecting and approving storage and processing facilities before importation is permitted and subsequently by regular visits to monitor operations and audit quantities of potatoes processed. All residues and packaging materials are sterilised or incinerated under quarantine control.