The ban on imports of meat products for personal use from all foot and mouth countries has been welcomed by Australian ranchers.

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Secretary Murray Watt said the new restrictions, which took effect at midnight last night, are the next step in the government’s strong three-pronged approach to tackling FMD.

The newly strengthened rules also ban highly processed meat products such as pork sponges, patties and pork crusts.

Imported pig slag containing FMD debris was found on Melbourne supermarket shelves in July.


FMD remains endemic and prevalent in many countries in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and South America. The disease does not occur in Europe, North and Central America, Pacific countries, or the Caribbean.

Angus Hobson, a sheep and cattle breeder in New South Wales, said the federal government’s banon personal meat products was a very constructive move.

“Anything that reduces the risk of an emergency animal disease is welcome.
Hobson said submissions to the Senate’s biosecurity readiness investigation, which reopens this week, will focus on preventing foot-and-mouth disease.

“This [ban on imported meat for personal use] is part of the anti-immigration matrix…I think it’s great.”


South West Victoria prime lamb and sheep seed producer Tim Leaming also supported the federal government’s decision. “It shows they are doing something.

“They were aware of the threat he had found FMD in meat products months ago,” he said.

“Things are happening, so that’s a good sign.

“But you just have to keep pedaling.”

The two manufacturers were part of a group that recently introduced legislation to a Senate inquiry into the adequacy of Australia’s biosecurity measures and response, particularly to foot-and-mouth disease. The manufacturer’s statement says Australia’s biosecurity system is underfunded and inadequate to prevent or mitigate foot-and-mouth disease out breaks. Fears of foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks have risen since the disease broke out in Indonesia, including on the island of Bali, earlier this year and particles were found in pork products on supermarket shelves in Melbourne and meat products confiscated from passengers.. Adelaide and Darwin have become airports in recent months.


The federal government recently stepped up inspections of postal parcels from China and Indonesia and increased biosecurity at airports, especially for passengers returning from Indonesia.

“Although Australia remains foot-and-mouth disease-free, we must remain vigilant against biosecurity threats from abroad,” Watt said.

“Current regulations do not allow animals or animal products to be brought into Australia unless they meet strict biosecurity requirements.

“When FMD was first discovered in Indonesia, the agriculture ministry tightened rules on commercial imports of FMD-risk products from Indonesia,” he said.

“Then, when the outbreak reached Bali, the Albanian government acted quickly to intensify screening of all products arriving by mail from Indonesia.


“However, prior to these new changes, individuals could import highly processed meat products for personal use. “As diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease and lumpy skin disease continue to spread, I have asked my department to reconsider the ban on the import of dangerous products not only from Indonesia, but from all foot-and-mouth disease countries.”

Watt said foot-and-mouth disease has been rampant in countries around the world for decades, but this is the first time such draconian measures have been enforced.

“The previous government did not take this step in response to previous outbreaks abroad, but after reviewing the evidence, it is not ready to accept this risk,” he said.

“Biosecurity is everyone’s responsibility and we can all work together to keep Australia pest and disease free.”

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Source: Beef Central

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