Article by: Hari Yellina
In Adelaide, pieces of the foot and mouth disease were found in unregistered beef, marking Australia’s second finding of the disease. The Adelaide Advertiser reported the discovery at the airport on Thursday, one day after Agriculture Minister Murray Watt announced disease pieces had been found in Melbourne-produced pork. They are the disease’s initial reports in the midst of an ongoing global outbreak. The fact that these viral fragments – not living viruses, but rather viral fragments – are entering the country through these animal products is highly concerning, according to Watt, who made the detections. But on a deeper level, these discoveries demonstrate the resilience of our borders and the effectiveness of our biosecurity measures.
Watt claimed that the undeclared beef product taken by a traveller from Indonesia was where the Adelaide detection was made “in recent days.” While the country is still clear of the animal disease, it has been found in Bali, a well-known tourist destination. In response to the fears that even one incidence of foot and mouth disease may cause the export economy to collapse overnight, opposition MPs Barnaby Joyce and Karen Andrews have called for the border to be closed with Indonesia, one of Australia’s largest trading partners. David Littleproud, the leader of the Nationals, refrained from endorsing a border closure nonetheless. On Wednesday, Watt noted that foot and mouth disease virus pieces have already been discovered in Australia, prior to the Melbourne detections. “It’s happened a number of other times in airport settings,” he said.
“There would be a negative impact on the economy, so we must maintain commerce open. It’s crucial that Australians are aware of the issues involved and the need to be extremely watchful about the food goods they bring back. The minister stated that preventing an outbreak from ever reaching Australian soil was his main concern. Watt said, “I am very optimistic that Australia’s internationally acclaimed biosecurity system puts us in very good position to prevent this outbreak’s arrival.