On 20 October 2009, changes were made to Australia’s policy on bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and imported food safety for beef and beef products. The new policy, which came into effect on 1 March 2010, allows beef to be imported from countries with prior cases of BSE, provided they can prove they have acceptable BSE controls in place and that those controls are monitored. The new policy replaced the policy put in place in 2001 which included a ban on imports of beef and beef products from all countries that had reported cases of BSE.
In 2010, the Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References (RRAT) conducted an Inquiry into the possible impacts and consequences for public health, trade and agriculture of the Government’s decision to relax import restrictions on beef. The Inquiry considered the possible impacts and consequences of the 2009 change to BSE policy.
The RRAT conducted a subsequent Inquiry in 2013 into beef imports into Australia. This Inquiry included discussion of the 2010 findings, but also considered foot-and-mouth disease.
The Government responses to the Inquiries were developed by the Department of Health in consultation with other relevant Commonwealth Agencies. The responses were tabled on 24 August 2017.