Despite reassurances from the State Government, concern is growing around the potential impact of foot-and-mouth disease on farmers and the supply of meat and dairy after an outbreak of the disease in Indonesia and the detection of fragments of the virus in Australia.
In light of this, Curtin University supply chain expert Dr Elizabeth Jackson says, “Industry and government leaders are calling for calm, but farmers are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact of exotic disease outbreaks in Australia, with foot-and-mouth disease and lumpy skin disease front-of-mind at present.
“There will be short, medium and long term consequences of disease outbreaks for our food supply chains and during these uncertain times we need to be mindful of the wellbeing of farmers and anyone who is part of the supply chain, plus the welfare of livestock.”
Dr Jackson believes the following questions need urgent attention by the Commonwealth Government:
• How credible are recent claims that supply of meat and milk could be unaffected and could even become cheaper as a result of the situation
• How might foot-and-mouth disease impact Australia’s meat and dairy supply chains
• How might Australian consumers be affected in terms of the availability and price of meat and dairy
• Do new protective measures need to be put in place to protect Australia’s food sources • Should there be changes made to Australia’s border to reduce the chance of livestock infection