Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Beef Industry Review over Meat Imports; Groups {Lsquo}failed to Properly Discuss Mad Cow'

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Beef Industry Review over Meat Imports; Groups {Lsquo}failed to Properly Discuss Mad Cow'

Article excerpt

Byline: ALEX EASTON alex.easton@northernstar.com.au

THE Productivity Commission is reviewing beef industry groups after complaints they failed to properly consult with members before agreeing to lift a ban on imports from countries affected by mad cow disease, Page MP Janelle Saffin said.

Ms Saffin said industry groups had, by and large, consulted with the farmers they represented, but the commission was reviewing the Meat and Livestock Association 'and others' after repeated complaints from members predating the recent mad cow debate.

On that issue, Ms Saffin stood by the plan to lift the ban, accusing Nationals senators Barnaby Joyce and Fiona Nash of whipping up a scare campaign that ignored the science.

Ms Saffin said no cow or human would be able to contract mad cow disease under the plan.

Research on the issue had found there was only a 0.002 per cent chance of mad cow-infected beef being brought into the country over more than a year. However, even if infected meat were accidentally imported, there was no risk of humans or cattle being infected.

Ms Saffin said the relaxation of beef import rules was part of a change in Australia's approach to mad cow disease, officially known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, to account for scientific advances in understanding how it spread. …

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