Vocal independent senator Nick Xenophon is calling for two separate inquiries into Australia's imported food safety regime in the wake of the hepatitis A outbreak that is linked to frozen berries from China. He contends that there should be an independent review along with a Senate inquiry for MP's to test evidence in public hearings.
"This is a serious and widening outbreak of illness apparently caused by basic hygiene failures in China. This shows systemic failures in the way that imported foods are screened in this country," Senator Xenophon said."We should be looking at issuing permits to export to Australia, so that adequate sanitation and health checks can be carried out in advance."
He also said that there needs to be a thorough review and systematic overhaul of Australia's food labelling laws as, as it stands currently, you can claim that a product is 'made in Australia' provided 51% by value was done in Australia. He feels that this is woefully inadequate in enabling consumers to make an informed choice.
Minister of Agriculture Barnaby Joyce agreed with Senator Xenophon, saying that consumers should know where the products that they are purchasing have come from.
Source : Channel 9 News, 17 February 2015