Media Release 14 February 2019

Cattle Producers Australia president Dr Paul Wright is calling on Government to ramp-up biosecurity surveillance across Australia after a recent detection of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) contamination in food was brought in by international visitors.

Dr Wright said “this highlighted the need to maintain utmost vigilance at points of entry. In this case the FMD contaminated food was properly declared and removed. However, the possibility of undeclared contaminated food being brought in is very real and poses an ongoing risk to Australia’s livestock industries.”

Dr Wright applauded the tougher stance for prosecution and/or court proceedings announced by Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud in his recent press release headed Zero tolerance: imported risks in luggage threatens Australian Farming. Declared and seized pork jerky and pork products were collected and sent to the Australian Animal Health Laboratory for testing. Testing confirmed that 2 out of the 283 samples have been found to be contaminated with FMD virus and that out of 435 samples tested for African Swine Fever (ASF), 46 samples were contaminated with ASF.

Dr Wright said, “much more effort is needed as we have seen a depletion in biosecurity preparedness across Australia over the past few years and these very recent detections of both FMD and AFS contaminated particles entering Australia reinforces CPA’s position in their recent press release opposing chilled or frozen beef products being permitted entry into Australia from Japan, America and several other countries.

“Protocols to prevent the entry of FMD and other exotic diseases are the first and most important barriers that protect us” Dr Wright said. “There are outbreak response plans in place for each exotic diseases including FMD. Experience shows that early detection and rapid response for containment and clearance are needed to minimise economic damage to business entities, regions and the national economy. An essential element to encourage early reporting is the availability of a well-structured compensation arrangement.”

“CPA has proposals for improvement to the rapid response mechanisms for exotic disease outbreaks that we believe would be of great benefit for the cattle industry and those reliant on it”, Dr Wright said, “While a strong and alert biosecurity capability that is well supported by the Minister as shown in this case is very welcome it should be further bolstered”.

Dr Paul Wright

Cattle Producers Australia (Implementation Committee)
“Woongarra” Taroom  Qld  4420
Phone 07 4628 6185 Mobile 0438 286 185

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