Biosecurity New Zealand is stepping up its work at the border with a campaign to ensure travellers do their part to protect farmers from foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), says deputy director general Stuart Anderson.
Foot-and-mouth disease is in many countries, including Malaysia, China and most recently Indonesia. It’s a good time to remind people arriving in New Zealand how important it is that they follow our strict biosecurity rules to protect against FMD.
“From next week, arriving passengers will notice more information about FMD in the in-flight airline announcements and in arrival halls. We will also provide people with a check sheet of dos and don’ts with regard to FMD, and further promote FMD awareness on social media.
“Our border staff will also step-up searches of baggage for passengers who have travelled from Indonesia, including focussing inspections of footwear and disinfecting them at the airport if required.”
Mr Anderson said although there remained a low risk of FMD entering New Zealand, it was important to constantly assess biosecurity settings.
“We have a strong and multi-layered system that has some of the strongest settings in the world. Our campaign just adds to those measures, including risk assessments of all arrivals and cargo, 100 per cent screening of all checked in and cabin baggage, detector dogs and very strong import health standards for goods coming into the country.
“We recently did an on-the-ground audit of the palm kernel supply chain in Indonesia and found it is meeting our strong FMD requirements.
“Alongside our Australian counterparts, we’re closely watching FMD developments in places like Indonesia and we will make further adjustments where required.”
Mr Anderson said there were simple things travellers must do to protect against FMD:
- Travellers to New Zealand must declare all goods, equipment, and food that could carry unwanted pests or diseases into New Zealand.
- Travellers must also declare when they have been in contact with livestock.
- Don’t bring in animal products such as meat.
- If you visit a farm overseas, ensure that you clean footwear before departure.
- On arrival to New Zealand, there is a one week stand down period from the time that a person arrives from a country overseas with FMD, to the time that they go onto a NZ farm or have contact with susceptible animals in NZ.
Mr Anderson said Biosecurity New Zealand had shared information with its primary sector partners to ensure farmers understood the importance of people migrating to work on local farms understood the need to take care.
“It’s important farmers communicate with their new employees the basic steps they should take to keep us safe from FMD before they board the plane to come here.”