More than 270 tests a day have been applied to imported food in six months, as part of Australia’s rigorous food testing system. Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said the results of monitoring showed a high compliance rate of 99.4% when labelling mistakes were excluded.
“The imported food scheme demonstrates our biosecurity system in action—making sure imported food is safe to eat and meets our own domestic standards,” says Barnaby Joyce in a press release.
“My department has a thorough process for checking imported food, and using a scientific risk model to focus efforts on food products that pose the greatest human health risk.
“This is all in a day’s work for Australia’s biosecurity syste, which applies risk management tools to manage the known human health risks that foods pose; analysing where they come from, who manufactured the food, who the importer is, and then determining which consignments to intercept.
“Many biosecurity risks are not generally visible and require specialised skills and scientific know-how to manage. Good biosecurity is essential to maintaining our human health, agricultural productivity, environment and our ability to grow our agricultural exports.
“It’s not just the Department of Agriculture working to monitor and test imported food; this is a real joint effort with my department working alongside Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), as well as state and territory authorities.
“The July–December 2013 Imported Food Inspection Data Report should give people assurance that imported food is subject to monitoring for food safety and compliance with Australian food standards.
“It’s important to note that most of the non-compliant foods were due to labelling errors, which may be corrected prior to sale. Where food does not comply with requirements, it is destroyed, treated to bring it back to compliance, or re-exported. There are also follow-up actions on the food manufacturer.” Ω
Posted 30 June 2014