Media statement: Illegal pork semen importers face court

Updated 29 October 2018

​Two persons involved in the pork production industry faced court today in Western Australia on charges relating to deliberate illegal imports of pig semen over a number of years.

The two persons, along with a WA pork production company, have been charged with aggravated illegal importation offences under the Biosecurity Act and Quarantine Act.

The case was first uncovered in January 2017 and has been the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

There are no food safety or ongoing biosecurity concerns associated with this case. The biosecurity risks have been effectively managed and there is no impact on the safety of Australian pork or our animal health.

Illegal imports of pig genetics can carry significant risks. This includes porcine reproduction and respiratory syndrome and Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD). It has been estimated that FMD could cost Australia around $50 billion over a decade if it was to arrive here.

These imports can also increase the risk of African swine fever arriving in Australia. This disease has no known cure and is another major threat to our $5.3 billion pork industry.

There are specific conditions for the import of animal genetic material. Breaches of these conditions will not be tolerated.

Currently the maximum penalty for an ‘illegal importation to obtain a commercial advantage’ is 10 years jail and/or 2000 penalty units ($420,000). For a corporation the maximum penalty is 10000 penalty units ($2.1 million).

If you witness suspicious behaviour or come across any goods that you believe have been illegally imported you can contact the Biosecurity Redline anonymously on 1800 803 006.

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