A day after a petition calling for a boycott of the Australian-based firm that makes frozen meat and dairy products for the meat and poultry industry gained over 200,000 signatures, women’s groups said on Wednesday they were “not going to allow it to happen again”.
“Australians have a right to know the truth about how meat is produced and packaged and, if that’s not the case, the Australian Government must be held accountable,” the Women’s Food and Feeds Campaign (WFF) said in a statement.
The campaign was launched after it was revealed that Australian meat company Cargill had purchased the company behind the Australian Beef, Lamb, Pork and Turkey brand.
In a statement, WFF said the campaign was in response to a call from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to boycott Cargilis products.
“The Australian Government needs to stand up and protect its consumers and businesses from the impact of a global food crisis,” WFF executive director Christine Jones said.
“We’re calling on Cargills products to be withdrawn from Australian shelves and to cease sales to Australians until the company is transparent and accountable.”
Cargill declined to comment.
The petition also called for an independent investigation into the sourcing of Australian beef and lamb, and for a public inquiry into the quality of Australian food.
“Australia has a right, and a duty, to produce a product that’s safe for human consumption,” the campaign said.
“That’s why Australia’s food producers have had a right and a responsibility to take steps to reduce their risk of contamination.”
That’s what Australian meat companies have done for over two centuries, and that’s what they are doing today, when they are buying meat from overseas and exporting it to Australia.
“A report by a UN expert found that beef and pork produced in the Australian capital, Canberra, contained residues of antibiotic drugs that have been linked to an increased risk of illness and death among Australians.
In March, Cargils chief executive officer Peter Drysdale confirmed that the company was “aware” of the report’s findings and that it was taking the report “very seriously”.
However, he told the ABC that the findings were not conclusive and “we’re not saying it’s the case with all the products”.
The campaign said Cargillin should be removed from the Australian market and “immediately” from the list of authorised suppliers of meat, as well as other meat and meat products.
The report was released as the meat industry was forced to prepare for the arrival of the winter weather, with many meat retailers shutting down their operations.
The WFF called on consumers to “speak up” if they had purchased Australian beef, pork or lamb from Cargilli or any other Australian meat or meat products supplier.”
A Cargilla spokesman said the company had “been cooperating fully with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and other regulatory bodies to address concerns” about its suppliers, but had no further comment.”
Australians can’t let this happen again.”
A Cargilla spokesman said the company had “been cooperating fully with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and other regulatory bodies to address concerns” about its suppliers, but had no further comment.