Foot And Mouth Disease Has Been Detected In Australia In Meat Products From China
| Last updated
Australia has been warned after foot and mouth disease was detected in Chinese pork products at a Melbourne supermarket.
9News reports that the pork products in the Melbourne CBD were imported from Asia and contained fragments of the disease along with African swine fever.
Agriculture Minister Murray Watt said during a press conference: "At one level, these detections are very disturbing.
"That we see the viral fragments, not live virus but viral fragments, coming in via product.
"At another level, these detections show that our borders are strong and our bio security systems are working.”
Watt also confirmed that an undeclared beef product containing the disease was also detected at an Australian airport.
He said: “In addition to this, a passenger travelling from Indonesia has in recent days been intercepted with a beef product that they didn’t declare, which tested positive for foot and mouth disease viral fragments.”
Travellers coming back from Bali have been warned to either wash your shoes or bin them to avoid bringing the disease into Australia.
Minister Wyatt said: "It’s absolutely vital that the public do the right thing here as well.
"The risk of it coming to Australia is extremely low, but it is not zero.
"What we are asking people to do is if they have been in Bali, especially [around] livestock ... if you are coming back in, clean your shoes. And if you don’t need to bring them back, leave them behind.
He disclosed that Australia remains free of both viruses as relevant products had been ‘seized’ from all linked supermarkets and a warehouse in Melbourne.
Foot and mouth disease is a highly contagious animal disease that affects cattle, sheep, goats and pigs.
While it doesn’t affect humans, damage to Australia’s economy and trade would be colossal if it spreads through livestock.
It’s been estimated it would cause an $80 million (USD $55.1 million or £ 46 million) hit to the economy and even result in the livestock export industry to shut down for months or even years, according to Sydney Morning Herald.
9News reports that NSW-based cattle farmer Anne Cullen from Coonamble said Australia’s livestock would also have to be slaughtered.
She is calling for the Federal government to introduce more biosecurity laws to help protect farmers.
"We are all very worried. It would have a terrible, terrible impact on the farming situation," she said.
"The affected cattle would all have to be slaughtered and I would think in a huge radius of wherever the cattle are that are contaminated."
While sanitisation mats have been recently installed in Australian and international airports, Culled said more needed to be done.
She said: "It's not happening as much as they say it is.
"Shoes need to be either left there, thrown in the bin or there has to be washing of shoes, on entering back into Australia."
Featured Image Credit: Septianjar / Xinhua / Alamy Live News. dpa / Alamy Live News.
Topics: Food And Drink, Australia, Politics, Travel