Officials have termed the decision by the Philippine Department of Agriculture to ban imports of Australian beef unduly harsh.

The ban was imposed following the announcement that a cow in Victoria had died from anthrax.

The criticism is not all coming from Australia. Pampi (the Philippine Association of Meat Processors) has called on the country’s government to scale down the ban to beef imports from Victoria alone. Executive director Francisco Buencamino said that the anthrax scare was being used to reduce imports and sharpen prices for domestic beef.

Given that only one cow was involved, and that the farm is under a 42-day quarantine, the Australian beef industry feels the measure taken by the Philippines, which imports 30,000 metric tons of beef from Australia each year, is unwarranted.

Nevertheless, the Philippine Department of Agriculture is holding firm, today [Thursday] reiterating its position:

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“We can’t compromise the health and safety of the Filipino people,” agriculture secretary Leonardo Montemayor said in statement.