USA agrees to Aussie meat inspection reform

By Boyd Champness

THE United States last week finally accepted Australias modified meat inspection scheme after three-and-a-half years of wrangling.

The Federal Government is now confident the system will lead to substantial cost savings for meat processors, The Weekly Times newspaper reported.

Last year, the USA rejected Australias proposed reforms of its meat inspection standards, known as Project 2, which involved a shift from government to company-based inspection services, after a backlash from industry and consumer groups.

But the US Department of Agriculture has now approved a revamped system called the Meat Safety Enhancement Program (MSEP), which involves industry-based inspections but leaves the final inspection of carcasses to an Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) officer.

However, AQIS has said that not all Australian abattoirs will be able to implement the new system because no agreement had been made with the European Union. Abattoirs that export to the EU have to maintain the old system.

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