New biosecurity measure to protect against Foot-and-Mouth Disease

Travellers will not be allowed to bring personal consignments of any meat products from Indonesia to New Zealand in the latest step to protect against Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD).

Announcing this today, Biosecurity New Zealand deputy director general Stuart Anderson said that while Indonesia continues to step up its FMD response, extra precautions are being taken.

These include the meat-product prohibition.

Previously the highest-risk uncooked meat products were prohibited but travellers from Indonesia could bring in declared cooked or treated meat.

“Given the importance of protecting our vital primary sector, this is a good further step to take for now,” Mr Anderson said.

“From today any personal consignments of meat from Indonesia, including cooked, will not be allowed in and we will reassess the suspension at the appropriate time.”

Stuart Anderson said any meat products brought in by travellers from Indonesia would be safely destroyed.

The rule change did not affect commercial products, which faced strict import standards.

“Biosecurity New Zealand is committed to reviewing biosecurity settings where required and we’ve taken several steps in recent weeks to boost our protections, Mr Anderson said.

“Those include stepping up checks at airports, introducing disinfectant mats for people returning from Indonesia to clean their footwear, an awareness campaign targeting travellers, an on-the-ground audit of the palm kernel supply chain in Indonesia, the establishment of an FMD Readiness Taskforce to ensure all our preparedness work is refreshed and providing personal protective equipment, disinfectant, backpack sprayers and other tools to Indonesia to help on the ground, as well as our technical expertise.”

Stuart Anderson said New Zealand’s biosecurity system had the most stringent requirements in the world aimed at preventing FMD, but it was important to keep reassessing protections.

“Although the risk of the recent outbreak in Indonesia to New Zealand remains low, we remain on high alert,” he said.

Source:  Ministry for Primary Industries 

Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog