Federal Agriculture Minister Senator Bridget McKenzie

November 25, 2019

A month-long operation by biosecurity officers has targeted travellers from high-risk countries affected by African Swine Fever.

Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie said Operation Conway involved screening all passengers and crew from identified flights during October for pork products and other biosecurity risk material.

“In all, 1021 passengers and crew were screened using a combination of x-ray, manual inspection and detector dogs across five flights originating from countries with confirmed cases of African swine fever,” Minister McKenzie said.

“Twenty-eight infringements and 17 written warnings were issued during the operation with 44 kilograms of risk products seized, including 12kg of pork, chicken and beef products.

“A number of pork products that were seized were sent for ASF testing, with 22 per cent returning a positive result.

“Dedicated teams of biosecurity officers (were) deployed across four States and locations – Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Darwin – supported at the border by colleagues from Australian Border Force.

“The operation shows us that despite the risk to Australia, some people are still doing the wrong thing and bringing in products that could cause an outbreak here.

“The levels of non-compliance and other intelligence gathered in this operation are used to refine profiling as well as to inform the sorts of screening activities we undertake so we can make sure we have the best measures in operation to protect Australia from this terrible disease.

“As well as heightened screening for pork products at airports and mail centres, our government has strengthened compliance action at the airport which has resulted in a significant increase in the number of infringement notices being issued.

“We have also redeployed detector dogs to Cairns and Darwin, and placed ASF signage at international airports to ensure passengers declare all pork items.”

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