On Thursday 21 March 2013 representatives from retailers, industry and regulators met to discuss the horse meat substitution issue in Europe. Australia’s standards, processes and regulations across the food supply chain, along with the commitment of retailers, industry and government, means that we enjoy access to high quality food products. The likelihood of horse meat substitution in our system is low, but like all systems, ours is not without risk.
Participants discussed the importance of consumer awareness and confidence in meat production, food regulations and processes, truth in labelling, food standards and community access to relevant information.
All participants agreed with the following key points:
- Almost all beef eaten by Australians is grown here and we are fortunate to have high quality meat products available.
- Australian food production supply chains are regulated by the Australian government and state and territory governments to ensure food is safe and wholesome and correctly labelled.
- All food sold in Australia, whether it is imported or locally sourced, must be safe and suitable for human consumption.
- Australia has laws regarding labelling so consumers know what they’re eating.
- Misrepresentations on food labels are illegal under Australian Consumer Law.
- Australia maintains comprehensive controls that protect consumers from exposure to unsafe food through ongoing monitoring and testing.
- Major Australian retailers have comprehensive quality assurance processes in place to ensure meat products are of a high standard and to help consumers make informed choices.
- Industry, retailers and regulators will continue to be vigilant and work together to ensure our high food safety, labelling and processing standards are maintained.
This communiqué is supported by: