PROPOSED changes to packaged meat transportation regulations in Victoria have sparked concern from industry stakeholders.
Farmer, meat worker union and butcher representatives, led by Victorian Farmers Federation Livestock Group president Ian Feldtmann, have expressed concern over State Government plans to make changes to the regulatory system safeguarding transportation of packaged meat.
Representatives from PrimeSafe, the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union and butchers met earlier this month to discuss the proposed changes and the current regulatory environment in Victoria.
In a joint statement, Mr 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.
“Local governments are already overworked and under-resourced, and we have concerns about the increased workload on these already strained organisations,” he said.
The industry stakeholders have written to Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford voicing their concerns, but said they hoped to maintain “a positive dialogue” with the Department of Agriculture on 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.
The joint statement said there had also been calls 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.
“There is also scope for temperature control labels to be administered to guarantee the safety of the packaged products,” Mr Feldtmann said.
The aim with this approach is to minimise the potential risk of food safety event that could cause irreparable damage to Victoria’s international reputation for producing safe premium and sustainable meat products, the statement said.
“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.