Our work supporting the national response

The FMD national response

August 02 2022

Quick facts

  • MLA and ISC are working as a part of a specialised taskforce to protect industry from FMD and LSD alongside RMAC and other industry service providers
  • We are working closely with the Australian and Indonesian governments to develop a biosecurity support program to mitigate FMD and LSD spread
  • MLA and ISC have been providing technical expertise via our subject matter experts, particularly through our working red meat integrity system.

A major cross-industry effort is under way to assist Indonesia in containing its Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak while also keeping FMD and Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) out of Australia.

This work is headed by the Australian Government and facilitated by the Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC) – the peak body for the entire Australian red meat industry.

A special taskforce has been convened, comprising representatives from RMAC, the National Farmers’ Federation, Australian Dairy Farmers, and their respective industry service providers, including Meat & Livestock Australia. 

The taskforce has a communication framework developed and a communications working group, and updates are being provided to state-based authorities and organisations.

MLA, ISC part of a larger, national process

MLA, and Integrity Systems Company (ISC) as its subsidiary, play an important role in the situation surrounding our national biosecurity, however, this is an issue that involves the whole of the red meat and livestock industry.

MLA and ISC have been providing technical expertise via our subject matter experts to the taskforce and working groups in areas such as biosecurity support in Indonesian feedlots, trade and protocols, domestic containment strategies, vaccine development for LSD and communication taskforces.

In particular, ISC has been advising on the red meat integrity system, including the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) and Livestock Production Assurance (LPA), to aid livestock professionals in mitigating disease spread when necessary.

Border security support and input

The Australian Government is responsible for implementing biosecurity and border measures to protect Australia from diseases such as FMD and LSD. Whilst MLA nor ISC have any direct decision-making capacity regarding border security, we provide support and technical expertise to Industry representative organisations and the government who work closely together to achieve strong border control.

Australia has a history of being extremely vigilant and efficient with biosecurity protocols, and as such, everyone within our industry should feel confident in their processes. All industry bodies and individuals can support the government by sharing high quality and timely information through communication channels.

Overseas In-Country Support

Currently, MLA’s work is mainly in overseas in-country support, working closely with the Australian and Indonesian governments and industry via a biosecurity support program to help control the spread of FMD and LSD in Indonesia:

Trade and protocols – to undertake specific market risk analysis and market prioritisation and determine protocol and health certificate needs, both pre-emptive and reactive.

Domestic containment strategy – to develop effective strategies to inform the containment and management of the spread of LSD should it arrive in Australia, complementing existing processes and plans, such as AUSVETPLAN, as well as other work being developed.

LSD diagnostic capability and vaccine development – to develop strategies for the development of diagnostic capability and vaccines to diagnose, prevent and manage the spread of LSD, should it arrive in Australia.

MLA and ISC are continuing work in upholding our exceptional red meat integrity systems. Incorporating on-farm assurance and livestock traceability, the red meat integrity system protects the disease-free status of Australian red meat and underpins the marketing of our product as clean, safe and natural.

Whilst there is a clear and robust national response plan in place and MLA and ISC are working to support industry and government to develop strong biosecurity measures; producers have their own responsibilities for their properties which you can read more about here: Three ways to be biosecurity ready.