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Santa gifts add to 19m biosecurity screens

Santa will need to declare his Australian gifts, with his presents joining the 18.7 million mail items screened by biosecurity officers this year.

The officer’s little helpers screened more than 10.5 million incoming mail items, with the 41 detector dogs finding 9400 were biosecurity risks.

There were 37,400 mail items with biosecurity material detected between January 1 and October 31 this year.

More than 13,700 items contained seeds, while 3700 – around one in every ten detections – contained pork products.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the number of biosecurity risks were lower than the previous year due to the decreased amount of mail being sent from overseas during the pandemic.

“Pork products could potentially carry African swine fever, a contagious viral disease of domestic and wild pigs which has no vaccine and kills about 80 per cent of the pigs it infects, as well as foot-and-mouth disease,” he said.

Mr Littleproud said detector dog teams around the country were preparing the increase the number of screenings as international travel returns.

“(They) will continue their contribution to our intervention strategy in this pathway.”

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