The Andrews Labor Government has welcomed the findings of an independent review into Victoria’s meat and seafood regulator, PrimeSafe.
The review confirms Victorians can have every confidence in PrimeSafe’s ability to fulfil its responsibilities to protect public health and promote food safety.
The review identified a number of ways to further improve the way PrimeSafe undertakes its regulatory activities, and in particular, deliver efficiencies for industry and improved information, support and education for small businesses.
The review made 24 recommendations, of which the Government supports 23 in principal. The Government does not support the recommendation to transfer the regulation of supermarkets and farmers markets to PrimeSafe.
Instead, the Government has requested PrimeSafe work with the Victorian Committee of Food Regulators to develop a more consistent regulatory approach for supermarkets.
In the case of farmers markets, there is an existing exemption under the Meat Industry Act for the sale of packaged meat. The Government intends to remake this exemption and extend it to cover the sale of packaged meat from other locations such as farm gate sales to try and reduce unnecessary regulatory burden on small businesses undertaking low risk activities.
To clarify the extent of this exemption, an examination of the risks and practices associated with the sale, storage and transportation of packaged meat will be undertaken, as well as consultation with key stakeholders.
The Government has also requested PrimeSafe undertake additional actions to address concerns raised in the review about the way in which PrimeSafe interacts with businesses in discharging its regulatory functions.
These actions will be outlined in the Minister for Agriculture’s Statement of Expectations for PrimeSafe which is due to be delivered later this year. This and PrimeSafe’s response will be made publicly available in line with existing protocols.
PrimeSafe has committed to a broad consultation with businesses on the implementation of the recommendations from the review, and the Government expects the PrimeSafe Board to consider how to evaluate the ongoing experience of licensees in their dealings with PrimeSafe to facilitate continual improvement.
The Government has every confidence that PrimeSafe’s regulation of industry protects public health and supports the strong reputation that our industries have for safe, high quality meat and seafood.
Reviewed 19 August 2020