Safefood Production Queensland principal compliance & strategy officer David Wilkinson sent this statement on Wednesday (5/9/12) in response to questions from The Observer;
"In relation to the matter of seafood from Gladstone generally, SFPQ believes product that is subjected to the ordinary inspection protocols is suitable and fit for purpose. In other words, if seafood that is identified by a fisher or a seafood processor as being unsuitable by way of it demonstrating visible abnormalities is excluded from the supply chain, then that is all that needs to be done. SFPQ is aware that seafood from the Gladstone has been subjected to these tests and has been both supplied and consumed on this basis. As to seafood that does not display any external signs of disease or deterioration, then this can be harvested, processed and supplied. With the approach that has been taken to date there certainly have not been any food safety concerns notified to SFPQ."
"I can also confirm that SFPQ has extended a number of invitations to Simon Whittingham to meet and discuss these and other matters. To date these offers have not been taken up."
"Having said that, in order to best address specific concerns raised, SFPQ is prepared to say that seafood product can continue to be harvested and supplied. SFPQ believes that the product to date is suitable and fit for purpose. SFPQ will continue to monitor ongoing scientific and other developments in relation to seafood from the Gladstone and other regions within Queensland."
Mr Wilkinson sent further comment Thursday morning;
"Firstly, that SFPQ is confident about the ability of processors and fishermen to deliver the requirements of the Seafood Food Safety Scheme. The reputation that our Queensland industry has for delivering seafood that meets market expectations here and overseas is well deserved and is based on past performance."
"Secondly, while SFPQ will continue to monitor any issues that arise we are pleased to see that seafood from the Gladstone region continues to be marketed and sold."