Australian Beef Association opposes imports relaxation

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 15th December 2009

The Australian Beef Association yesterday told the current Australian Senate inquiry into Beef Imports that the majority of local beef producers will continue to oppose changes to Australia’s beef import laws.

The Association said that relaxation of current import laws raised concerns of imports being affected by Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) (Mad Cow Disease). As European countries began reporting outbreaks of BSE in 2001, Australia had implemented blanket restrictions on beef imports. Federal legislation prohibited imports of beef products from any country that had reported any outbreaks of BSE.

The Australian government believes the science behind BSE is now sufficiently developed to permit imports with acceptable risk mitigation strategies being put in place. The government is relying on recommendations made in the report by Professor John Mathews.

The Senate Inquiry into beef imports is continuing although the changes to beef import laws are scheduled to come into effect on 1 March 2010.