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Australian officials assure Victoria beef and meat is safe

Beef and meat imported to the Mena region undergoes stringent regulations

Gulf News

Dubai: Australian government officials at Gulfood are stressing the safety of their meat, following the horsemeat scandal that has tainted Europe’s food products.

To ensure consumers are eating what they are promised, Australia has “strict labelling requirements [and] consumer legislation that penalises businesses for incorrect labelling,” said Louise Asher, Australian minister for innovation, services and small businesses and minister for tourism and major events.

The country’s regulatory authorities, including state and federal regulators, as well as inspections on the farmlands also play a role in ensuring food safety, Asher said.

“What is consumed here is no different to what is consumed in Australia. We had this [food safety] issue about 30 years ago, [but] we have had more control to ensure it doesn’t happen again,” said Peter Walsh, minister for agriculture and food security, and minister for water.

He added that most of the exporters of meat and beef products that are part of the delegation have full supply chain control.

The UAE is Victoria’s largest market in Mena for beef — valued at A$15 million (Dh56.84 million) — while meat exports is valued at A$71 million (Dh269 million).

With the growing number of Victorian businesses participating each year at Gulfood, the size of food exports to Mena is expected to go up, said Walsh.

“This year, 40 per cent of the delegation are new to the [Mena] market, and 25 per cent are new to exporting,” he said.

Last year, participating Victorian companies recorded A$18 million in sales, and their exports to the region are expected to rise to A$240 million over the next two years, according to Asher.

— Sarah Algethami is a trainee at Gulf News