Biosecurity New Zealand raising awareness of foot and mouth disease at border

Biosecurity New Zealand will began raising more awareness about foot and mouth disease at the border.
Biosecurity New Zealand will began raising more awareness about foot and mouth disease at the border. Photo credit: Newshub

Biosecurity New Zealand will begin raising more awareness about foot and mouth disease at the border from next week to protect farmers from the disease.

Biosecurity New Zealand's deputy director-general Stuart Anderson said it is a good time to remind people arriving into the country about the importance of following strict biosecurity rules to protect them against foot and mouth disease (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."

Foot and mouth disease is in many countries including Malaysia, China and most recently Indonesia.

"Our border staff will also step-up searches of baggage for passengers who have travelled from Indonesia, including focusing inspections of footwear and disinfecting them at the airport if required.

"Alongside our Australian counterparts, we're closely watching FMD developments in places like Indonesia and we will make further adjustments where required," Anderson said in a statement.

Anderson also said in the statement there is a low risk of FMD entering New Zealand but it is better to be safe than sorry.

"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 percent screening of all checked-in and cabin baggage, detector dogs and very strong import health standards for goods coming into the country."

Biosecurity NZ shared information with its primary sector partners to make sure farmers knew of the importance of people migrating overseas, to work on farms and they understood they need to be careful.

"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," Anderson said.

The deputy director-general said there are a few simple things travellers need to do to protect themselves and others against foot and mouth disease.

  • 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 your 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 an NZ farm or have contact with susceptible animals in NZ.