9 May 2022

Biosecurity NZ on standby to tighten border security over foot and mouth outbreak

2:22 pm on 9 May 2022

Biosecurity New Zealand is ready to ramp up border measures if needed, as a foot and mouth disease outbreak is reported in Indonesia.


Farmers should not feed untreated meat products to animals, especially pigs, a Biosecurity NZ manager says. Photo: Pascal DeBrunner / Unsplash

New Zealand has never had an outbreak of the highly contagious and devastating disease, which affects cloven hooved animals such as sheep, cattle, pigs, goats, deer and alpacas.

Biosecurity New Zealand deputy director-general Stuart Anderson said suspected cases have been reported in four provinces of East Java in Indonesia.

But it has not been formally reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) yet, he said.

Anderson said New Zealand already has some of the toughest biosecurity measures against the disease in the world and the risk was low.

But he said border measures could be tightened if needed.

"At the moment, we don't have any direct flight passengers coming from Indonesia," he said.

"The sorts of things that we would look at would be whether any of the standards around imports need to be strengthened or tightened - to put further requirements on things, like more controls in the country before they leave storage, treatment, those sorts of things.

"In terms of people coming in via Indonesia, or a country that has foot and mouth disease, it would be a heightened vigilance at the border around carry on-baggage product and the mail pathway as well."

MPI was working closely with its Australian counterparts to get more information on the outbreak, Anderson said.

But it was a good chance to remind farmers to have water-tight biosecurity measures, he said.

"Farmers should not feed untreated meat products to animals, especially pigs, and they should be keeping overseas visitors away from stock for a week after their last contact with animals overseas.

"It is essential that farmers continue using the national animal tracing system and having strong biosecurity plans on farm.

"Anyone concerned about their animals' health, especially symptoms including high fever, mouth and feet blisters or erosions and lameness should call your veterinarian or MPI's exotic pest and disease hotline (0800 80 99 66)."

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