If you’re returning home from an overseas trip, don’t forget to check before you pack to avoid bringing home items potentially exposed to biosecurity risks, such as foot-and-mouth disease.
What's the risk?
Travellers and goods arriving in Australia can introduce exotic pests and diseases. This could harm our health, environment and commercial industries.
One such disease is foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). This highly contagious viral disease affects cloven-footed animals such as sheep and cattle. Australian livestock can be exposed to FMD if it is brought in on objects from overseas that have been around infected animals.
There is no threat to human health from this disease. Human infections of FMD are very rare and do not result in serious symptoms, but an outbreak on Australian shores could have severe consequences for our livestock industries.
FMD outbreaks are common in parts of Africa, the Middle East, Asia and South America (agriculture.gov.au). In May 2022, an outbreak of the virus was reported in cattle in Indonesia, with cases in livestock reported in Bali in July.
What can I do?
If you have been travelling overseas, before returning home, ensure you:
- thoroughly clean any equipment
- dispose of all meat or dairy products
- declare on your incoming passenger card (IPC) if you have visited a rural area or been in contact with, or near, farm animals in the past 30 days
- declare and hand over any items that present possible risk to a biosecurity officer for inspection on arrival in Australia.
Biosecurity risks, including FMD, can be brought into Australia on goods such as:
- shoes, boots and clothing
- meat products
- dairy products
- camping equipment, including backpacks
- mountain bikes and other sporting equipment used in rural areas, markets and zoos, or near susceptible animals and have soil or manure attached.
What else do I need to know?
For more information see:
- Smartraveller’s information on Australia’s biosecurity and border controls
- the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry’s advice on FMD
- the Australian Border Force’s advice on declaring items when coming into Australia.
Requirements can change quickly. Monitor Government advice and subscribe for updates to your destination/s to ensure you remain informed on global developments that may impact your travel.