TOUGH PENALTIES FOR FRUIT CONTAMINATION

Tough new laws to deter food contamination have passed Parliament today Member for Mackellar Jason Falinski announced.

Over the past few days contaminated strawberries have been found across Australia. Today, an apple in a local school has been reported to have been contaminated.

“My priority is to keep our community safe. What we have heard come out of a local school is simply a cowardly act.

“Today the Federal Government has urgently passed tough new measures that would allow the book to be thrown at these cowards.”

New measures:

  • $1 million to make more food safety officials urgently available to increase detection, fast track recalls and assist the strawberry industry to rebuild confidence.
  • An increase to the penalty for existing offences relating to the contamination of goods. These offences currently carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Given the seriousness of the offences, this penalty is not high enough.  The changes we are making elevate the offence, in terms of penalties, from one similar to forgery or theft of Commonwealth property (which carry a penalty of up to 10 years in prison), to one akin to possession of child pornography or funding a terrorist organisation (which attract penalties of up to 15 years imprisonment).
  • New offences of being reckless as to whether this type of conduct will cause harm, which will carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
  • For the most serious cases that have national security implications, we will amend the Commonwealth sabotage offences to ensure that sabotage of Australia’s food supply is captured by the sabotage offences. The penalties range between 7 and 25 years imprisonment.