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The case was first uncovered in January 2017 and has been the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Australia Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. baona/Getty Images

Australia detects ASF in pork entering country through mail, airport

The test results show six pork products from 152 tested were contaminated with the African swine fever virus.

In response to the recent spread of African swine fever, the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has increased its border activities. As part of this, a sample of pork products seized at international airports and mail processing centers over a two-week period has been tested for ASF.

The testing was conducted at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong.

Head of Biosecurity at the department, Lyn O’Connell, says the department has increased controls and remains committed to keeping Australia’s $60 billion agricultural industries free from the disease. O’Connell released this statement following the testing.

“The test results show six pork products from 152 tested were contaminated with African swine fever virus. Bringing banned products to Australia puts our environment, industries and animal health at risk. The detection of the virus in seized products at the border does not change Australia’s ASF-free status. The test results do however reinforce the importance of continued compliance with Australia’s strict biosecurity requirements.

“African swine fever is not present in Australia. If introduced it would have a significant impact on pig health and production, and contribute to wider economic impacts caused by a loss of access to overseas markets for our pork products. Humans are not susceptible to ASF but we all have a role in preventing it, and other exotic animal diseases from arriving in Australia — even if we don’t own or work around farm animals.

“It is crucial that all participants in Australia’s biosecurity system play their part in managing this threat. People visiting or returning to Australia from countries where this disease is present need to pay particular attention to biosecurity requirements and not bring banned product with them. If travellers are carrying foods, plant material or animal products in their luggage they must declare them on their incoming passenger card. Before making online purchases, check what can and cannot be mailed to Australia. Products such as pork jerky cannot be brought into Australia except under specific import conditions.

“If you are unsure of an item, declare it, or don’t bring it at all.”

Source: Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, which is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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