The Criminal Code Amendment (Food Contamination) Bill 2018 was passed in response to the recent contamination of strawberries, which has resulted in economic losses for Australian farmers. Under the new law, the maximum penalty for contaminating goods will be increased to 15 years in prison. The law also includes new offences including threatening to contaminate goods or making false statements regarding the contamination.
Introducing the bill in the House of Representatives, the Attorney-General, the Hon Christian Porter MP, said, ‘This bill is intended to send the simplest, clearest and strongest of messages. The behaviour we are now witnessing is not a joke. It is not funny. It is a serious criminal offence, and we denounce it, and offenders of it will face very serious consequences.’
The bill passed both houses of Parliament in a single day. It is the second bill to do this during the 45th Parliament.