A passenger who arrived in Australia from Indonesia has been fined $2,664 for failing to declare McMuffins in their luggage amid an outbreak of foot and mouth disease overseas.
The Labor government has rolled out biosecurity dogs at Darwin and Cairns airports as part of a $14 million package to bolster Australia’s protection from FMD.
Detector dog Zinta inspected the passenger’s backpack at Darwin Airport and found two egg and beef sausage McMuffins from McDonalds in Bali and a ham croissant.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt said the seized meals would be tested for FMD before being destroyed as Australia remains “FMD-free”.
“This will be the most expensive Maccas meal this passenger ever has, this fine is twice the cost of an airfare to Bali,” he said in a statement on Monday.
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“But I have no sympathy for people who choose to disobey Australia’s strict biosecurity measures, and recent detections show you will be caught.
“Zinta was placed at Darwin Airport as part of the Albanese Government’s tough new biosecurity defences, and it’s excellent to see she is already contributing to keeping the country safe.”
FMD is a highly contagious disease of livestock causing fever followed by the development of vesicles (blisters) in the mouth and on the feet.
Indonesia is currently battling an FMD outbreak, which has sparked fears it could spread to Australia and cripple the $80 billion livestock industry.
The viral disease has also been reported in countries in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and South America.
Mr Watt reinforced that biosecurity is “no joke” as goods must be declared to enter Australia.
“Biosecurity is no joke—it helps protect jobs, our farms, food and supports the economy,” he said.
“Passengers who choose to travel need to make sure they are fulfilling the conditions to enter Australia, by following all biosecurity measures.”
FMD affects all cloven-hoofed animals including cattle, sheep, goats, camelids, deer and pigs.
The virus is carried by live animals and in meat and dairy products, as well as in soil, bones, untreated hides, vehicles and equipment used with these animals.
The government has rolled out sanitation foot mats at all international airports, along with support on the ground for Indonesia and neighboring countries.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is adamant Australia’s strong biosecurity will stop the incursion of foot and mouth disease.
The package contains $9 million for frontline biosecurity and industry preparedness measures.
A further $5 million is used to provide technical expertise and support to Indonesia, Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea to assist their work in combatting livestock diseases.
“The Federal Government is taking this seriously, and we need every traveler to do their bit too,” Mr Watt said.