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Burke Takes A Step Towards Revoking BSE Decision

09 March 2010

AUSTRALIA - With recent unrest in the Austrlian beef industry over imports of beef from BSE infected countries, Agriculture Minister Tony Burke has requested that an Import Risk Analysis for fresh beef be carried out.

Australian Beef Association (ABA) Chairman, Brad Bellinger who has been campainging agaisnt the government's decision to withdraw the previous blanket ban on any beef imports from countries that had ever had a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), has welcomed the Minister's announcement.

Minister Burke said: "There has been significant community concern questioning whether the protocols adequately engaged the community and the extent to which they were different from a regulated Import Risk Analysis.

“These community concerns have been brought to me directly through Labour backbench colleagues and through the media.

“I have formed a view that conducting an Import Risk Analysis is the best way of reassuring the Australian community that effective protocols will be put in place to provide for the safety of imports."

He said that the review will be a formal process with specified time lines, guaranteed opportunities for community engagement and consultation as well as the added assurance of review by the Eminent Scientists Group.

He also stressed that the original method for determining protocols was science-based and similarly provided for safety for consumers.

Mr Bellinger said that the science on BSE and its variants CJD and TSE is still evolving and Australia must be very cautious before it relinquishes its unique status as ‘BSE free’. ABA will continue to research the issue and to explain the logic of our six point case for a ban on the importation of beef from BSE affected countries.

TheMeatSite News Desk

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