From December 2009 to December 2010, more than 100 tonnes of food was illegally imported into Australia. The food, including; dim sims, ice cream and raw meat, was imported into Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne from South Korea.
The major fear in this case is that Foot and Mouth Disease is widespread in South Korea, and would decimate our livestock industry if it takes root here.
The event was identified and presented to the current Australian Senate Estimates Committee.
Senator Colbeck,, a member of the Committee, released the report and said; “This problem was discovered as part of an audit but how much longer could it have gone on before the illegal importations were uncovered? The Biosecurity Services Group is starting to come clean about the scale of a biosecurity risk to Australian agriculture. Products had been widely distributed and were retrieved from about 300 retail premises, but we cannot be sure it was all found or how much was consumed. I’m concerned at how much product slipped through the net. The best I could get from the Department was that they “think they have got most of it”,”
With the sheer volume of imported goods, and especially food, coming into Australia, it is physically impossible for the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service to inspect every container.
This means there is a lot of food coming in that has not been inspected and although it is a requirement that imported food must meet the Food Standards Code, this audit result raises some very important and scary questions.