Beef imports ‘madness’
AN AUSSIE icon is under threat.
The humble but much-loved meat pie could become a victim of imported beef, independent Senator Nick Xenophon has warned.
He fears the importation of beef from countries where there have been outbreaks of BSE, or mad cow disease, poses a threat to the health of the nation should contaminated meat products end up in some of our staple foods.
Beef imports could start on Monday after a widely criticised decision by the Federal Government last October.
But the new policy is ‘mad’, according to Senator Xenophon, and should be scrapped.
He said weak labelling laws meant Australians could be eating potentially risky meat without knowing it.
“Meat pies with local packaging and pastry could still be labelled Australian, even if all the meat came from overseas,” Senator Xenophon said.
The consumer would be none the wiser, he said.
It was a view that had much support in Lismore yesterday.
Larry Endres, owner of the landmark pie cart in Magellan Street, said that from Monday he would have a sign up saying his pies were made with ‘100 per cent Australian meat’.
He was strongly against the Government move, which was ‘dangerous’, he said.
“Why doesn’t the Government give the poor old Aussie farmer a fair go?” he asked.
Diner Warren Skinner, who was born in Lismore, but now lives in Queensland and holidays in Ballina, said nothing upset him more than beef imports.
Mr Skinner, who has been enjoying pies at the Lismore pie cart for 60 years, and still eats there ‘often’, said he would stop eating pies immediately if foreign meat was used to make them.
He said the Government was ‘a lot of lunatics who were going to ruin the meat industry in Australia’.
Mr Skinner has been a farmer and meat retailer. His family had been cattle carriers in the area since the 1940s, he said.
“Now there are bugger all cattle here. All they grow in Lismore now is trees.”