What’s our beef? People telling porkies!

4 March 2020
  • Australia has stepped up its biosecurity efforts by deploying advanced 3D x-ray technology.
  • It works with the world’s first auto-detection algorithm for meat products.
  • A trial of the technologies at Melbourne airport and mail centre has seen a massive increase in detections of biosecurity risk items.
  • The technologies to be placed permanently in Melbourne and Sydney mail facilities.

The world’s first auto-detection algorithm for meat products is screening thousands of biosecurity risk material at Melbourne’s International Airport and Mail Centre.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said compared with conventional x-ray technology detections of biosecurity risk items have doubled at the airport and tripled at the mail centre since the rollout of 3D x-ray technology last year.

“Australia is a world leader in biosecurity and we’re getting better. New technology like this plays an important role in keeping pests out,”
Minister Littleproud said.

“The 3D x-rays are streamlining passenger and mail screening into Australia and allowing our biosecurity officers to do their work more effectively.

“At the airport, the x-ray has screened 95,059 bags and detected 6,039 biosecurity risk items, including pork products, which can carry African swine fever.

“ASF is right on our doorstep in Timor-Leste and poses a huge biosecurity threat to our pork industry.

“The world’s first 3D x-ray trial in the Melbourne Gateway Facility was due to finish on  30 November 2019, but following the project’s success, the technology will be set up permanently in Melbourne and Sydney mail facilities. 

“The meat algorithm is able to detect 60 per cent of meat products and it will only continue to improve as it is refined.

“This world first achievement is just one way the Australian government is modernising our ongoing biosecurity efforts at the border, keeping Australia free from exotic pests and diseases.”

Fast Facts:

Since its deployment the five most common detections have been:

  • Mail:
    • Chicken/Duck
    • Pork
    • Beef
    • Plant
    • Pet Food
  • Airport
    • Fruit
    • Meat
    • Herb/spices
    • Seeds
    • Seafood