Infected prawns detected in Qld retailers

Desiree Burns
July 5, 2018

Prawns infected with white spot disease are still making it onto supermarket shelves, despite the Turnbull government introducing tougher rules after an outbreak in 2016 that is estimated to have cost farmers and associated industries nearly $400 million.

In 2016 an outbreak of white spot is estimated to have cost the prawn and associated industries in Queensland up to 400 million Australian dollars (221 million US dollars).

University of the Sunshine Coast Professor Wayne Knibb tested samples from prawns being sold in southeast Queensland supermarkets and found about 30 per cent tested positive to white spot.

Yes. Infected prawns do not pose any threat to human health or food safety.

Mr Littleproud's department says protocols for imported raw prawns are strict, but says they are only meant to reduce the biosecurity risk to a low level, not zero.

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"In response to this, a statement from the federal department for Agriculture said, it is vital to remember that the department has been very clear that its enhanced import conditions do not guarantee that there will never be (white spot) present in prawns imported into Australia".

The disease is harmless to humans but lethal to prawns and wiped out millions of dollars from the state's seafood industry when it was detected in the Logan River in 2016.

It's a highly contagious viral disease that affects crustaceans including prawns, crabs, yabbies and lobsters.

The disease kills prawns and outbreaks can cause mass mortality in prawn farms.

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