Foot and mouth disease

// Biosecurity

You may be aware of a foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in Indonesia.

farmer herd

Foot and mouth disease causes painful lesions on cloven-hoofed animals including sheep, cattle, pigs and goats. Infected animals are destroyed to halt the spread of the infection. FMD caused billions of dollars of losses during an outbreak in the United Kingdom in 2001.

Biosecurity New Zealand is closely monitoring the situation, seeking more information from Indonesia, talking to its Australian counterparts and has increased monitoring of some pathways at the border. 

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) is working with Biosecurity New Zealand on the issue and on efforts to improve New Zealand’s readiness for incursions of exotic diseases.

The outbreak serves as a further reminder of the importance of good biosecurity to protect New Zealand’s livestock industries. In addition to the confirmed outbreak of FMD, Indonesia is also battling lumpy skin disease, which is spread by biting flies.

New Zealand’s multi-layered biosecurity system includes risk assessment, visual inspections, X-ray screening, scanning technology, and detector dogs to prevent risk goods from being carried into New Zealand by travellers or arriving by mail. All shipping containers and imported goods are assessed for biosecurity risk.

Palm kernel extract (PKE) can be a potential pathway, however under the Import Health Standard, PKE is heat treated and subject to post-treatment secure handling to prevent contamination. No high-risk imports such as live animals, meat, or germplasm from Indonesia are permitted into New Zealand.

Biosecurity New Zealand has told us an audit last year of Indonesia's supply chain for PKE showed it was meeting strong import health requirements. 

Although the risk is low, it is important farmers know the signs of FMD. Anyone concerned about their animals’ health, especially symptoms including high fever, mouth and feet blisters or erosions and lameness, should call their veterinarian or the Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI) exotic pest and disease hotline (0800 80 99 66).

Our advice

  • Please remember to keep up-to-date NAIT records. As the Mycoplasma bovis response has shown, recording all animal movements helps the speedy tracing of animals in the event of a biosecurity incursion.
  • In addition to cattle and deer, FMD can infect pigs, sheep and goats and movements of these animals are not included in NAIT. Instead of using paper-based Animal Status Declarations for every movement, we urge farmers to use the electronic ASD (eASD) functionality provided by OSPRI for all livestock species. B+LNZ was a partner in the Red Meat Profit Partnership, which funded the development of eASD.
  • Do not feed uncooked food that may contain meat to pigs. This is illegal and the highest risk pathway for FMD and other diseases.
  • Keep overseas visitors away from stock for a week after their last contact with animals overseas.

For more information, please visit our biosecurity webpage or contact:
Chris Houston
Beef + Lamb New Zealand
021 562 871