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Thursday, 10 March 2005
Page: 182

Senator O’Brien asked the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, upon notice, on 23 December 2004:

With reference to the discovery of live sea lice in a shipment of imported salmon on 3 September 2003:

(1)   What was the exporting country.

(2)   When did the shipment depart.

(3)   If not exported from the country of origin, what was the exporting country.

(4)   What was the port of departure.

(5)   When did the shipment arrive in Australia.

(6)   What was the port of arrival.

(7)   What salmonid species did the shipment contain.

(8)   When did the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) issue the permit to import quarantine material.

(9)   When was the official certificate issued by an AQIS-recognised Competent Authority in the exporting country.

(10)   What was the form, presentation and weight of the salmon.

(11)   What was the intended end use of the salmon, including, if applicable, commercial processing, processing for retail sale and/or direct retail sale.

(12)   When and where did AQIS first inspect the salmon.

(13)   When was the salmon seized.

(14)   Was the salmon ordered to be frozen, if so: (a) when was that order made, and (b) on what date was the salmon frozen.

(15)   In relation to the sea lice analysis: (a) when did this commence and conclude; (b) where was this done; and (c) who conducted the analysis.

(16)   When was the Minister and/or his office and/or his department informed about the analysis findings; (a) what are the analysis findings, including: (i) details of the sea lice species, (ii) whether the species are usually found in Australian waters, and (iii) whether the sea lice present a quarantine risk.

(17)   (a) When did AQIS consult with Food Standards Australia New Zealand and state and territory food agencies about the salmon; (b) what state and territory food agencies were consulted; and (c) what was the nature of those consultations.

(18)   In relation to the outcome of the sea lice discovery and analysis: (a) If the salmon was released for sale: (i) when, (ii) what conditions, if any, were placed on its end use, and (iii) what was its end use; (b) if the salmon was ordered to be re-exported: (i) when was that order made, (ii) when was the salmon exported, (iii) how was the exported salmon labelled; and (iv) to what country was it exported; (c) if the salmon was ordered to be destroyed: (i) when was that order made, (ii) when and how was it destroyed.

Senator Ian Macdonald (Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation) —The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:

There were no live sea lice discovered in imported salmon on 3 September 2003. The following answers cover two consignments of fresh chilled salmon that were detected by AQIS on 3 September 2003 to have a number of dead sea lice.

(1)   Norway and The Netherlands.

(2)   This information is not available. Shipments typically depart on the same day or up to two days after the inspection date. The inspection date which appeared on the health certificate was 29 August 2003.

(3)   The consignments were exported from the country of origin, Norway, and The Netherlands.

(4)   Oslo and Amsterdam.

(5)   On 2 and 3 September 2003.

(6)   Sydney.

(7)   Atlantic salmon - Salmo Salar.

(8)   3 and 22 July 2002.

(9)   29 August 2003.

(10)   Head-off gutted trunks weighing 1026.90kg (44 cartons) and 909.00kg (44 cartons).

(11)   Processing for retail and/or direct retail sale.

(12)   QANTAS bond store on 3 September 2003.

(13)   AQIS placed a quarantine hold on the salmon on 3 September 2003.

(14)   Yes. (a) 4 September 2003. (b) 4 September 2003.

(15)   (a) 3 September 2003 and 8 September 2003. (b) Sydney and Townsville (c) AQIS entomologist Sydney and the Australian Institute of Marine Science Townsville.

(16)   8 September 2003. (a) (i) the lice were identified as Lepeophtheirus salmonis, a copepod. (ii) No. (iii) No.

(17)   (a) 3 September 2003 (FSANZ and some State health agencies) and on 8 September FSANZ as chair of the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) forwarded an AQIS request seeking views on the issue to all TAG members. (b) Safe Food Queensland, NSW Health, Victorian Department of Health, Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services, South Australian Health Commission, Western Australian Department of Health, Northern Territory Health Services and ACT Health. (c) AQIS sought the views on whether the salmon was acceptable from a food safety and/or food standards perspective.

(18)   (a) The salmon was released for sale. (i) 10 September 2003. (ii) No conditions were placed on end use. (iii) AQIS does not have this information. (b) No product was re-exported (c) No salmon was ordered to be destroyed.