Positive detection reminder to be vigilant
14 February 2019
Victoria’s Chief Veterinary Officer says results released this week by the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) show the real threat of exotic diseases to Victorian livestock and the agricultural economy.
Pork products confiscated at the border tested positive for African swine fever virus and a small number positive for Foot and mouth disease.
Dr Charles Milne said the risk of exotic livestock diseases entering Australia was not decreasing.
“It’s not enough to rely on biosecurity inspections to stop potential pests and disease threats at the border. Biosecurity is everyone’s responsibility and we all need to help protect our agriculture, our economy and our unique natural environment,” Dr Milne said.
“People visiting or returning to Australia should pay attention to biosecurity rules, including the need to declare any food or animal items as well as any footwear and equipment that has been in contact with animals or in rural areas.
“When buying food and other goods online, always consider where they are coming from and whether they will meet biosecurity requirements before ordering them.”
African swine fever and Foot and mouth disease are both highly contagious viral diseases. African swine fever affects pigs which can lead to mortality rates of up to 100 per cent in affected herds.
Foot and mouth disease, the biggest threat to Australia’s agricultural economy, can have a significant effect on cloven-hoofed animals.
Swill feeding, which is illegal, could cause outbreaks of infectious diseases like these to Australia.
“The act of feeding infected and illegally imported meat scraps to pigs is one of the most likely ways in which an exotic disease could be introduced into Australia,” Dr Milne said.
“Regardless of whether you are a large-scale pig producer or have a pet pig in your backyard, you need to keep your animals healthy, and this includes providing them with suitable and safe food.
“Any food business responsible for preparing and selling food for human consumption must not dispose of food waste in any way that would make it available for swill feeding.
“Whether it’s in someone’s luggage or in the mail, bringing in food, especially meat products, can also bring in diseases like African swine fever or even Foot and mouth disease, which could devastate Australia’s agricultural industries and the broader economy for many years.”
For more information about keeping African swine fever out of Australia, visit agriculture.gov.au/asf.
See also our information on animal diseases.
Contact Name: Nicole Cairns
Contact Number: 0436 675 030
Categorised under: Biosecurity