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Notice given 25 November 2003

2393  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—With reference to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald of 24 November 2003, entitled ‘Company accused over nuts scandal’:

(1) When did the Minister first become aware that macadamia nuts imported from Kenya were repackaged in boxes, relabelled ‘product of Australia’ and then sold to food wholesalers and retailers in Australia.

(2) Can the Minister confirm that only Coles and Bi-Lo stores have received these repackaged and relabelled nuts; if not, can the name and location of all food wholesalers and retailers in Australia which have received the nuts be provided.

(3) How and when did the department notify food retailers and wholesalers, consumer groups and the Australian Macadamia Society about the discovery of the repackaged and relabelled nuts.

(4) What steps is the department taking to: (a) investigate how the repackaged and relabelled nuts entered the Australian food distribution chain under false labelling; and (b) prevent the similar repackaging and relabelling of imported macadamia nuts in the future.

(5) What steps have been taken to test the nuts to ensure they comply with quarantine standards as set out by the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service.