Unregulated animal-based pet foods that are mailed into Australia are set to be destroyed in an update to Australia’s Biosecurity Act.

A risk analysis conducted by the Biosecurity Animal Division concluded that unregulated animal-based pet food sent by mail present a biosecurity risk beyond Australia’s Appropriate Level of Protection (ALOP).

Dr Chris Locke, Deputy Secretary of Biosecurity and compliance, said the new measures were to control the risk of diseases.

“Animal-based pet food often contains high-risk ingredients such as beef, pork, lamb, chicken and fish. If pet foods aren’t up to par, they can be a disease risk to not only our pets but livestock as well.

“Pet food can contain disease pathogens, like foot and mouth disease, lumpy skin disease, African swine fever, and avian influenza, which can all infect livestock.”

Dr Bronwyn Orr, President of The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), said it was excellent to see the new measure put in place to control the risk of disease.

“Most people would be surprised to know that there are no mandatory quality standards for pet food in Australia. There are no safeguards to ensure pet food is balanced, nutritious or even safe for pets. 

“The AVA believes that all pets in Australia should have access to safe, high-quality food, and if a problem arises, there should be a prompt and regulated recall and investigation.”  

Locke said that studies have found that pet food is sometimes not even just fed to pets, with instances of livestock, like pigs and chickens, and wildlife consuming the product.

“If you’re an importer and want to bring animal-based pet food into Australia, you will need to make sure you are meeting Australia’s biosecurity conditions, otherwise you could see your product destroyed.”

The importer of the product will be provided with a notice informing them their goods will be destroyed with no option of re-export unless import conditions are met.

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