Passenger will have to pay a high fine for bringing food into Australia

indonesian mcdonalds foot and mouth disease

() — A passenger traveling from Bali, Indonesia, to Australia will have to pay a high price for bringing a McDonald’s breakfast.

The traveler, whose name was not released, was fined A$2,664 ($1,874) after two undeclared Egg and Beef Sausage McMuffins and a ham croissant were found in his luggage upon arrival at Darwin airport, in the country’s Northern Territory last week.

The incident came days after Australian authorities introduced strict new biosecurity rules following an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Indonesia, which spread to Bali, a popular destination for Australian tourists.

The Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry said a biosecurity detection dog named Zinta detected a “range of undeclared risk products” in the passenger’s backpack, including fast food items.

“This will be the most expensive ‘Maccas’ meal this passenger has,” said Murray Watt, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, it’s a statement.

“This fine is double the cost of a plane ticket to Bali, but I have no sympathy for people who choose to flout Australia’s strict biosecurity measures, and the recent detections show that they will be caught.”

Strict biosecurity measures

Australia has introduced a number of new biosecurity measures, including a detection dog at Darwin airport in the country’s Northern Territory, due to an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Indonesia. Credit: Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

The release goes on to confirm that the passenger received “a 12-unit violation notice for failing to declare potentially high-risk biosecurity items and providing a false and misleading document.” Seized products will be tested for foot-and-mouth disease before being destroyed.

“Australia is FMD free, and we want to keep it that way,” added Watt.

Last month, Australia’s federal executive government announced a $9.8 million package of biosecurity measures, with new measures introduced at all the country’s borders, including sanitary foot mats at all international airports and biosecurity dogs at both Darwin and Cairns airports after the highly contagious disease began to spread through livestock in Indonesia.

Experts estimate that an outbreak in Australia could inflict an economic hit of up to $80 billion.

“Travellers from Indonesia will be subject to much stricter biosecurity scrutiny due to the presence of foot-and-mouth disease in the country,” reads a release published by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry on July 19.

“Failure to declare biosecurity risks will be a breach of Australia’s biosecurity laws, and anyone found to be in breach could receive an infringement notice of up to A$2,664.”

“Travellers entering Australia on temporary visas may have their visas cancelled, and in that case they will be denied entry to Australia.”

Although foot-and-mouth disease is relatively harmless to humans, it causes painful blisters and sores on the mouths and feet of cloven-hoofed animals such as cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and camels, preventing them from eating and causing severe lameness and death in some cases.

The disease can be transmitted by live animals, in meat and dairy products, as well as in the clothing, shoes, or even luggage of people who have been in contact with infected animals.

“The consequences for farmers if foot-and-mouth disease enters the scene are too harrowing to contemplate,” declared last month to Fiona Simson, president of the National Federation of Farmers.

“But it’s not just about farmers. Removing $80bn from Australian GDP would be an economic disaster for everyone.”

— ‘s Hilary Whiteman contributed to this report.

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Written by Editor TLN

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