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Farmers: Vital Links in Securing Australia's Food Chain

2 May 2006

Farmers have stepped up to the plate to fulfil their role in protecting Australia’s food chain under the new National Food Chain Safety and Security Strategy, launched by the Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock in Adelaide over night.

The Strategy is the culmination of a two-year collaborative effort by governments and industry organisations, including the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF), through the Food Chain Assurance Advisory Group.

Australian farmers have a proud track record of producing clean, green and safe food for Australia and the world. However, potential threats in the wake of global security concerns mean new business risks, including the risk of malicious acts, must be factored into business planning and management.

The Strategy provides practical advice to farm and food businesses on how to better prepare for, prevent, and/or respond to such an act.

“The concept of risk management is well accepted and implemented on Australian farms, with farmers confronting food safety, pest and disease, climatic and market risks on an almost daily basis,” NFF CEO Ben Fargher said today.

“The strategic risk assessment undertaken in developing the Strategy found that the risk management, food safety and quality assurance systems already in place on Australian farms are well placed to respond to, and manage, national security risks.

“How real the risks are that Australia’s food chain may be used as a vehicle for a terrorist attack, or may face major disruptions as a consequence of terrorist activity, is unknown. But we need to be vigilant and plan our risk assessment and prevention strategies accordingly. Therefore, it would be remiss of governments and industries not to acknowledge the threats and to work co-operatively to address them.

“The NFF encourages all farm businesses to review how they measure up against all the elements contained within the Strategy and to consider additional opportunities to bolster and enhance their business security.

“Through comprehensive preparedness, good risk management and co-operation with governments, supply partners and law enforcement agencies, farmers are keen to do their bit in maintaining a safe and secure food supply for all Australians.”

Information on the new National Food Chain Safety and Security Strategy can be obtained by contacting the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (02) 6272 1466.

Media Enquiries: Brett Heffernan on (02) 6273 3855 or 0408 448 250.

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