Keeping Australia free from African Swine Fever

17 January 2019

(Issued by Department of Agriculture)

In response to the recent spread of African Swine Fever (ASF), the 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 centres over a two week period has been tested for African swine fever.

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

Head of Biosecurity at the department, Lyn O’Connell, said the department has increased our controls and remains committed to keeping Australia’s $60 billion agricultural industries free from the disease.

“The test results show 6 pork products from 152 tested were contaminated with African swine fever virus,” Ms O’Connell said.

“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 African swine fever 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. Pork products 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.”

Find out more about African swine fever, our biosecurity requirements for incoming passengers and for people who are purchasing goods from overseas at:

Fast Facts:

  • ASF is present in countries of sub-Saharan Africa, and has more recently been detected in other parts of the world such as countries in Eastern Europe, including Russia and the Ukraine. It has most recently been reported in Belgium, China and Mongolia. 
  • Our biosecurity officers work at airports and mail centres safeguards Australia’s unique environment, $60 billion agricultural industries and plant, animal and human health status from biosecurity risks.