Viral fragments of foot disease and African Swine Fever were found in products made from pork at a Melbourne retail store.
Australia is free from the disease as the virus has not been detected. However, Murray Watt, Agriculture Minister reiterated the importance biosecurity measures.
The products were seized after routine surveillance in Melbourne CBD revealed that they may have originated from China.
This is the first time that viral fragments were detected in retail settings, according to Senator Watt.
” This isn’t the first instance of foot and mouth virus fragments being found in Australian meat products. It has happened before in other airport environments,” he said to reporters in Brisbane.
” I want to assure you that our system works, have performed surveillance and found these products .”
Further investigations into how these products got to Australia were underway, Senator Watt stated.
” If you do something wrong, you’ll be arrested. He said that if you attempt to import products into the country and fail to declare them, you’ll be arrested.
” If you attempt to import or export products, we will arrest you .”
Sanitation Mats will be distributed at international airports to prevent foot and mouth diseases from infecting travellers’ feet.
This is the most recent measure taken by the federal government in order to stop an outbreak of livestock diseases on Australian shores.
Indonesia is currently dealing with the spread and complications of this disease. It was detected recently in Bali, an Australian holiday spot.
If the virus is allowed to spread to Australia, it’s predicted that the disease will cause an $80 trillion economic impact over the next ten years.
Senator Watt stated that the mats will provide an additional layer of defense against an outbreak.
However, Australians who return from overseas should clean and dry their clothes.
“There is no magic bullet for biosecurity. None of these measures can work by themselves,” said Senator Watt.
“It is a shared responsibility, and again, we do need people to take their share of responsibility.”
The mats will start rolling at Darwin and Cairns airports this week.
They are meant to remind travellers of the dangers associated with the disease, according to Senator Watt.
Travellers from Indonesia who arrive in Australia will need to cross the mats and clean their feet.
The mats are made of a citric acid mixture that is designed to remove dirt and mud from soles of shoes.
Other biosecurity measures include passenger statements, profiling all travelers entering from Indonesia and real-time risk assessments. Also, shoe cleaning, questioning, and other security precautions.
The government announced last week a $14million biosecurity package to increase frontline defenses at airports and mail centers, and support Indonesia and other countries in fighting the spread.
Senator Watt will meet his counterparts from the territory and state in order to review further steps. This is their first meeting since August.
Australian Associated Press, an Australian news agency.