Ausveg Concerned About Health Risks Associated With Rising Imports

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20th November 2009, 10:30am - Views: 568






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20 November 2009

For immediate release

 


AUSVEG concerned about health risks associated with rising imports 


In the wake of Food Safety Australia New Zealand’s (FSANZ) Food Safety Week,

AUSVEG remains concerned about rising vegetable imports to Australia from

countries where safety and quality controls are less stringent. 


Food Safety Week was launched on Monday 9 November by FSANZ, with the

organisation estimating there are 5.4 million cases of food poisoning in Australia each

year. 


AUSVEG is the national peak industry body representing the interests of Australian

vegetable and potato growers, which includes protecting their reputation for producing

safe, nutritious and reliable products. 


AUSVEG CEO, Richard Mulcahy, said it was difficult for consumers to know if the

produce they purchase in the supermarket originated from Australia, where food

safety standards are high, or from numerous other countries around the world. 


“Australia has meticulous food safety regulations, including the regulation of

pesticides and where certain vegetables can and can’t be grown. We can’t guarantee

the same strict regulations are enforced internationally, and with imports rising, that’s

a real concern,” he said. 


Statistics obtained from the ABS show that between 2004/05 and 2008/09 vegetable

exports have fallen by 1.6 per cent, while in that same four-year timeframe imports

have increased by more than 80 per cent. 


Furthermore, consumer Price Index data recently released by the Australian Bureau

of Statistics (ABS) shows a 5.6 per cent fall in the price of vegetables for the

September quarter. 


The AUSVEG CEO went on to explain falling prices partnered with rising input costs

are making it difficult for Australian vegetable growers to compete with cheap

imported products.


AUSVEG Communications Manager, Hugh Tobin said more needs to be done to

support the Australian vegetable industry, which is worth $3.2 billion annually and

employs an estimated 30,000 Australians. 


ENDS


MEDIA CONTACT:  Hugh Tobin, Communications Manager, AUSVEG

Phone: (03) 9544 8098, Mobile: 0431 939 920, Email: hugh.tobin@ausveg.com.au




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