AUSSIE BAN ON RP SAUCES LIFTED
Manila, July 8, 2000 - Australia has finally lifted the ban on Philippine-made food sauces 10 years after Canberra banned processed foods containing benzoic acid as a preservative.
The decision comes on the heels of the compromise agreement between Australia and the Philippines that settled the dispute over quarantine procedures that restricted the export of Philippine fresh fruits into Australia.
Trade and Industry Secretary Manuel Roxas II said the lifting of the ban was based on an earlier decision by the Australia and New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA) to consider benzoic acid as a safe food preservative in its revised standards for food additives.
Roxas said the lifting of the ban will now allow Philippine Food processors to export tomato catsup, sweet sour sauce, shrimp paste and other food sauces into Australia, still one of the biggest untapped markets for food and agricultural exports.
Roxas explained that food sauces with benzoic acid from the Philippines were barred from entry while Australia and New Zealand were negotiating an agreement on their joint food standard system.
During the transition, Roxas said Australia only allowed the importation of food sauces coming from New Zealand, even those that contained benzoic acid.
Roxas said the Department of Trade and Industry had complained that the transitional agreement was discriminatory and inconsistent with the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPSM) of the World Trade Organization.
Roxas said that findings eventually showed benzoic acid as a food additive and the Australian government has started allowing Philippine food sauces since June.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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