Victorian inquiry to examine role of food safety regulators

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 29th May 2012

A parliamentary inquiry will investigate the performance of Victorian food safety regulators Dairy Food Safety Victoria (DFSV) and PrimeSafe.

The Victorian Government’s Rural and Regional Parliamentary Committee will assess the competitiveness and regulatory burden of national primary production and processing standards on businesses regulated by PrimeSafe and Dairy Food Safety Victoria.

Dairy Food Safety Victoria administers the Dairy Act 2000. Its role is to ensure national food safety standards are met by licensing all dairy premises operating in Victoria’s dairy industry, including dairy farmers, milk carriers, dairy manufacturers and distributors, and approving and ensuring compliance with food safety programs.

PrimeSafe has responsibility for regulating the safety of meat, poultry and seafood in Victoria under the Meat Industry Act 1993 and the Seafood Act 2003. Its functions include control and review of standards for construction and hygiene at meat and seafood processing facilities through a licensing and inspection system and audited quality assurance programs.

In November 2011, the PrimeSafe closed down an abattoir in Gippsland after Animals Australia provided footage of animal welfare breaches inside the facility.

Agriculture and Food Security Minister Peter Walsh said the inquiry was an appropriate time to investigate the cost competitiveness of food safety laws on regulated businesses, 10 years since Dairy Food Safety Victoria was established, 20 years since PrimeSafe was established and a decade since seafood was added to PrimeSafe’s regulatory activities.

The Committee is requested to report to the Victorian Parliament by March 2013. The terms of reference will be considered by Victorian Parliament at its next sitting.