CONCERNS have been raised by the Victorian meat industry over the Victorian State Government’s plan to make changes to the regulatory system safeguarding transportation of packaged meat, which includes passing responsibility to local government.
In an unprecedented action, displaying the importance of this issue, representatives from across the meat supply chain met earlier this month to discuss the proposed changes and the current regulatory environment in Victoria.
Industry spokesperson Ian Feldtmann said the changes could expose stakeholders to increased risk.
“We feel very exposed by the risks involved in changing the regulatory system, where responsibility for transporting packaged meat will be transferred from PrimeSafe, the current regulator, to local government,” Mr Feldtmann said.
“Local governments are already overworked and under-resourced, and we have concerns about the increased workload on these already strained organisations.”
Industry stakeholders wrote to Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford voicing their concerns and said they hoped to maintain a positive dialogue with the Department of Agriculture in addressing the issues.
“We appreciate the opportunity for consultation with the State Government; this is a chance for the industry to discuss issues in the current system, as well as proposed changes,” Mr Feldtmann said.
There have also been calls in Victoria for full traceability and optimal food safety conditions from processor to the point of sale.
“Active refrigeration along with technological solutions that ensure line-of-sight traceability such as Plant of Origin labelling must be investigated,” Mr Feldtmann said. “There is also scope for temperature control labels to be administered to guarantee the safety of the packaged products.”
The aim with this approach was to minimise the potential risk of a food safety event that could cause irreparable damage to Victoria’s international reputation for producing safe premium and sustainable meat products.
“Industry stakeholders with the largest investment and the greatest risk need to be protected by a regulatory system that is both rigorous and affordable,” Mr Feldtmann said.