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Preventing foot-and-mouth disease
An outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in Australia is most likely to be caused by:
- the importation of contaminated food, in particular salted or cured meats
- the feeding of 'swill' (food or food waste containing certain animal products) to pigs.
Preventing these illegal activities is the best way to prevent FMD from occurring here.
Keep illegal food products out of Australia
Australia's quarantine laws and border surveillance restrict the importation of FMD-susceptible animals and products, including salted and cured meats.
Travellers entering Australia must declare:
- all food, plant material and animal products to ensure they are free from pests and diseases
- if they have visited a farm while overseas.
FMD virus fragments have been detected in meat confiscated at Australian airports by the Australian Government of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. Some travellers have had their visa cancelled because of these biosecurity breaches.
You can help keep FMD out of Australia by sharing this information with any travellers you know, particularly if they will be visiting or working on farms in Australia.
Prohibited feed for pigs and poultry—swill
Legislation in all Australian states and territories, including Queensland's Biosecurity Act 2014, outlaws feeding prohibited feed for pigs and poultry (swill) to pigs or poultry. In the context of FMD, this applies to all pigs, including pet pigs and pigs owned by hobby farmers. Penalties for swill feeding include fines and imprisonment.
You can help by informing any pig owners you know about the risks of swill feeding. If you suspect that swill is being supplied to pig owners, or pigs are being fed swill, then report it to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.
- Find out more about feeding swill to pigs.
- Read more information for livestock owners.
- Visit our playlist of community education FMD videos.
- Do free online FMD training for veterinarians and veterinary paraprofessionals.
- Download a fact sheet about food and mouth disease.
- Download a fact sheet for pig owners about what to feed pigs.
- Download a fact sheet about anti-swill feeding for food outlets (also available in Chinese and Vietnamese).