Authorities are weighing whether to ban all food brought in from Indonesia by travelers amid growing concerns over hand-foot-and-mouth disease.
A Senate inquiry into Australia’s response to the outbreak in Indonesia said a complete ban could be possible if the situation worsened.
Travelers are already prohibited from bringing meat and other food items into the country and must declare all food items.
Agriculture Secretary Andrew Metcalf said in an inquiry Wednesday that the disease landscape is constantly changing.
“Since the outbreak began, significant steps have been taken in relation to food being imported from Indonesia, and more categories of food have not been able to be imported,” he said.
“We are constantly reviewing the risk factors associated with importing food and making changes accordingly.”
The study indicated that if foot-and-mouth disease is detected, the impact on export products of animal origin would be significant.
Viral fragments of the disease have previously been found in pork products from retailers in Melbourne, but no live virus has been found in Australia and has not infected the disease.
The comments came after the government announced in July a $14 million biosecurity package to bolster frontline measures, including funding 18 new biosecurity officers at airports and postal centers. It was
However, the new officers won’t be deployed until the end of September, and 45 contractors have been hired to fill the gap until recruitment is complete, a survey said.
Sniffer dogs have also been deployed at all airports with incoming flights from Indonesia, with the exception of Adelaide, which will be deployed by the end of August, the investigation said.
Australia will supply Indonesia with one million doses of the hand, foot and mouth disease vaccine, which is expected to arrive in late August.
At the hearing, Metcalf said there had been no discussions with other departments about the possibility of closing the border with Indonesia due to the threat of the disease.
The USDA said it was first notified of the foot-and-mouth disease advisory on May 6.
Former Agriculture Minister David LittleProud did not ask Australia to order more vaccines or footmats to prevent the disease, Metcalf said.
However, the advice was received during the interim period before the federal election.
Metcalfe said both LittleProud and him, who was in the opposition at the time, were well briefed at the time.
After spreading to Bali, the risk of the highly contagious disease entering Australia over the next five years increased to 11.6%.
Food bans may spread in foot-and-mouth fights
Source link Food bans may spread in foot-and-mouth fights