A detector dog at Darwin Airport has sniffed out a stowaway McDonald’s breakfast in the backpack of an Aussie traveler flying home from Bali – leaving him with a $2664 fine.
The penalty for the undeclared meat and dairy products is part of the active biosecurity efforts being made to stop foot and mouth disease (FMD) from entering the country.
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“Two egg and beef sausage McMuffins from McDonald’s in Bali and a ham croissant” were the offending menu items that caught the attention of biosecurity sniffer dog Zinta, Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister Murray Watt told 7NEWS.com.au in a statement.
Stopping the food groups from entering the country is just one of several measures the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry is cracking down on to mitigate the biosecurity threat.
“Detector dog Zinta responded to a passenger’s backpack and, after further inspection, it was found they were carrying a variety of risk items,” Watt said.
“This will be the most expensive Maccas meal this passenger ever has.
“This fine is twice the cost of an airfare to Bali, but I have no sympathy for people who choose to disobey Australia’s strict biosecurity measures, and recent detections show you will be caught.”
He was issued a “12-unit infringement notice for failing to declare potential high biosecurity risk items and providing a false and misleading document”.
The undeclared food was inspected for FMD and destroyed.
“Biosecurity is no joke—it helps protect jobs, our farms, food and supports the economy. Passengers who choose to travel need to make sure they are fulfilling the conditions to enter Australia, by following all biosecurity measures,” Watt said.
Indonesian authorities confirmed on July 5 that there had been an FMD outbreak in livestock, and as Australia is FMD-free, authorities are being extra vigilant at the border.
The disease “can survive in meat and dairy products even if they are frozen, chilled or freeze-dried,” the department said.
The infringement notice cost more than the man’s flights, but that is the standard cost of failing to declare biosecurity risks at the border.
Travelers who are entering Australia on temporary visas could also risk them being cancelled, ensuring they cannot enter the country.
“Travellers arriving from Indonesia will be under much stricter biosecurity scrutiny due to the presence of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in Indonesia, including at the popular tourist destination Bali,” the department said in a statement.
The Albanese government last month announced a $14 million biosecurity package.
It has also rolled out biosecurity dogs at Darwin and Cairns airports, as well as sanitation and on-ground support at Australian and international airports.