During the first six months of this year, authorities in the United States of America detected a five fold increase in the incidence of violative levels of pesticide residue in beef originating from Australia. That increase has not been reflected in subsequent intensive testing of product in this country; violatve residue levels detected remaining constant at about 0.4 percent. United States authorities indicated that the high level of violations demonstrated by their testing was unacceptable, and that further violation could terminate imports of Australian meat products. Other importing countries, particularly Japan and Canada, quickly took up the concems of the United States of America, and the export markets for Australian meats appeared to be in a precarious situation. In response, the meat works testing program for pesticide residues was progressively increased as laboratory space became available, and approximately 120,000 samples have been tested in Australia since June of this year.
At the end of October, 164 properties remained under quarantine in Queensland— almost 80 per cent of them being for dieldrin— whilst 26 had been cleared and released. We have implemented a program to enable a property status to be determined for Queensland livestock-producers.