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02 Apr 2015

Country-of-origin food labels ‘months away’

The introduction of more stringent country-of-origin food labelling may be months away as the Federal Government undertakes extensive research and consultation and works on ways to implement the measure without falling foul of international trade rules. Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane told Parliament the Government was holding stakeholders workshops and conducting market research, and was investigating the use of bar codes and smart phone technology to increase information available to consumers. But the Minister warned the Government also faced “some hard work” to ensure any changes complied with World Trade Organisation rules. “The bottom line is to give consumers the information they are calling out for, without imposing excessive costs on industry,” Mr Macfarlane said.

Sports doping

Health Minister Sussan Ley has condemned the injection of “unknown substances” into athletes in pursuit of sporting success following the AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal’s finding regarding doping allegations at the Essendon Football Club. The Tribunal ruled last week that it was “not comfortably satisfied” that 34 current and former Essendon players had violated anti-doping rules. But Ms Ley said, regardless of this verdict, a review by Dr Ziggy Switkowski had found the club had a “disturbing pharmacologically experimental environment”. “Any injection of unknown substances into athletes in order to push the boundaries of sporting achievement is unacceptable,” Ms Ley said. “It shows a complete disregard for player safety and welfare. This sort of reckless behaviour at an elite level sends a dangerous message to amateur players, coaches and officials”.

Defence veteran mental health

The Senate has launched an inquiry into veteran mental health following revelations of widespread depression and distress among returned armed forces personnel. The Senate’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee has been directed to investigate the prevalence of mental illness and post-traumatic stress disorder among veterans and examine how they are cared for, including access to appropriate support and services and the extent of homelessness and suicide. The Committee is due to report in February next year.

New consumer health advocate

A former head of the Australian Medicare Local Alliance has been appointed to lead the Consumers Health Forum. Leanne Wells, who was most recently with the ACT Medicare Local, is the Forum’s new Chief Executive Officer following the departure of Adam Stanevicius, who served in the position for a year.

Adrian Rollins





Published: 02 Apr 2015