Reminder that footwear can spread pathogens

18 April 2019

MPI’s Border Space newsletter contained a photo of dirty jandals that were presented at the border by a traveller who was entering New Zealand to work in horticulture. These jandals had been used on a tomato farm in the Pacific Islands the previous day and could have contained various soil-borne pathogens. Fortunately, in this instance the traveller did the right thing and declared the dirty footwear to border staff upon arrival. The items were then cleaned appropriately.

A previous study by AgResearch in 2010 demonstrated that a single gram of soil on an international aircraft traveller’s footwear had a greater than 50% chance of containing a regulated organism. With that in mind, the incident is a useful reminder that we ensure all visitors to our orchards enter with clean footwear, particularly if they have recently been overseas or to other regions of New Zealand.