Sydney, Australia

Just days after local beef was linked to an E-coli contamination scare in the U.S., Australia on Friday assured that its beef is safe for domestic as well as foreign market.

Australia's Agriculture Department said that it recently received a notification about a local beef, but said that beef tested negative during pre-export screening in the country. The department further said that the U.S. border authorities had cleared it only after it met their import requirements.

"Discussions are ongoing with all parties concerned while confirmation of the source of the contamination is being progressed," it said. "Contamination can occur at any part of the supply chain," it added.

Reacting angrily to the U.S. claims that Australian beef is responsible for contamination scare in South Carolina, Greg Read, Department of Agriculture meat inspection and food bio-security division Head, said that the source of the latest E. coli bacterial contamination in mince meat remained unclear. Read said that the U.S. port had already rejected three consignments of frozen Australia beef earlier this because of E. coli contamination, adding that the boxes had never entered the U.S.

Read added that Australia would not accept the U.S.' blame for contamination South Carolina inspectors detected in three tons of mince and hamburger patties last week. The Australian meat inspector, instead, pointed out the meat had been blended with US mince. "We are still not at all satisfied . . . the origin of the product was Australian," he added.

Australia is always concerned about its products, especially when they are implicated in contamination scares. He added that the government is taking necessary steps to improve the screening system to avoid any potentialities for these sorts of incidents in future.

Read's comments came in response to claims that the U.S. received seven more shipments of contaminated Australian meat in recent months. E.coli strain can lead to kidney failure and causes bleeding in the bowels. Japan is Australia's top beef exporter, followed by the U.S. and South Korea.


Australia Insists Its Beef Safe for Domestic and Export Market | News of the World