Friday, 09 February 2024
Comments attributable to Cattle Australia (CA) Chief Executive Officer, Dr Chris Parker:
“Cattle Australia is aware of the concerns raised about per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in Australian beef products and we continue to actively engage with the relevant regulators who are responsible for assessing the risks.
“PFAS is a global issue that impacts all countries, and the situation is not straightforward.
“We do, however, appreciate the concerns of producers and consumers, and will continue working with industry and government to ensure Australian beef maintains its safe-eating reputation in domestic and global markets.
“As part of the 27th Australian Total Diet Study (ATDS), Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) investigated levels of PFAS in a range of foods and beverages common to the Australian diet.
“The results show that Australian consumers’ exposure to PFAS through food is very low and poses no food safety concerns.
“The study also found PFAS levels in the general Australian food supply are as low as reasonably achievable, and there are no public health and safety concerns for the general Australian population.
“A strong science and risk-based approach is applied in Australia, with government recommendations provided to reduce exposure to PFAS if in an area of any contamination.
“The Australian meat industry follows a similar science and risk-based approach, and has maintained an ongoing review of any necessary industry actions through a committee of SAFEMEAT.
“To date, this review has determined that no actions are required under the Livestock Production Assurance program and that no declarations regarding PFAS are required on a National Vendor Declaration that accompanies the movement of all cattle and sheep.
“This is an evolving area and in January 2023, the European Commission established maximum limits (MLs) in food of animal origin for four PFAS compounds.
“The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) provides certification for exports of animal-derived food, including assurances that consignments are unlikely to contain violative residues.
“The likelihood of detection of levels of PFAS above the European Union (EU) MLs in food exports is considered to be low.
“CA is actively monitoring the situation and is aware that DAFF is considering the implications of these limits for exports, including whether to introduce a monitoring program through the National Residue Survey (NRS) for PFAS to support EU trade. If required, we would support such action.
“CA is maintaining a watching brief regarding PFAS residues relevant to exports, and continues to work within SAFEMEAT – a partnership between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments and the red meat industry – on this issue.”
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