Could There Be Horse Meat in Australian Foods?

What Australian food safety laws are protecting you?
March 4, 2013
By Michael Stewart

In the wake of the horse meat scandal that has hit the United Kingdom, residents of other countries have become concerned about the foods that they consume. Few countries consider horse meat as an acceptable food, and Australia is not one of them. Because many people have expressed their concern about pre-packaged meals sold in supermarkets across the country, the Australian government has provided information to put consumer minds at ease.

No Imports Means No Horse Meat

A livestock lecturer at Charles Sturt University indicates he sees no reason for concern. The country has a very, very strict import regulation on any meats. All foods are carefully checked before they are allowed into the country, and very few locations are even allowed to send meat to Australia at all.

In fact, almost all red meat consumed in Australia is locally farmed. This became part of the import law in order to protect consumers after the mad cow disease epidemic a few years ago. By only allowing processed foods that use local beef, the Food Safety Commission can protect the consumer and avoid any cross contamination from imported meats.

The Nestle Company

One of the biggest concerns is the Nestle Company. Several pre-packaged products from Nestle, including those that go under the name of Jenny Craig (the diet giant) were a part of the horse meat scandal in the United Kingdom. While some of the lasagne and pasta products produced by the company did contain horse meat in the UK, the Nestle Corporation has released a press statement indicating that no Australian packages contained horse.

In fact, a spokesman from Jenny Craig indicated that all packaged meals in Australia are made from cattle raised in the country. Nothing is imported and this avoids any meat mixtures being allowed.

Australian Law

Interestingly, Australian law is currently a little nebulous on horse meat consumption. In fact, if food manufacturers wanted, they could use some phrasing to support the use of a horse in packaged foods. However, this is not considered acceptable by consumers in Australia or New Zealand despite anything that may be written in the law.

Should consumers be concerned about any packaged foods they may buy from their local supermarkets? With so many strict regulations on imports and the constant use of local cattle for the food items, Australia is almost completely safe from the scandal that has affected Europe.