Passenger fined $1,874 after two undeclared McMuffins found in luggage

(CNN) – A passenger traveling from Bali, Indonesia to Australia has found himself paying a hefty price for a McDonald’s breakfast.

The unidentified traveler was fined A$2,664 ($1,874) after two undeclared egg and beef McMuffins and a bacon croissant were found in their luggage on arrival at Darwin Airport in the country’s Northern Territory last week.

The incident came about days after Australian authorities introduced tough new biosecurity rules after an outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in Indonesia spread to Bali, a popular destination for Australian tourists.

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

“This will be the most expensive Maccas meal this passenger has ever had,” Murray Watt, minister for agriculture, fisheries and forestry, said in a statement.

“This fine is double the cost of a ticket to Bali, but I have no sympathy for people who choose not to obey Australia’s strict biosecurity measures and recent revelations show you will be caught.”

Strict biosecurity measures

Australia has brought in a raft of new biosecurity measures, including a sniffer dog at Darwin Airport in the country’s Northern Territory, due to an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in Indonesia.

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

The statement went on to confirm that the passenger had been issued “a 12-unit infringement notice for failing to declare potentially high biosecurity risk items and providing a false and fraudulent document”. Seized products must be tested for foot-and-mouth disease before disposal.

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

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

Experts estimate that an explosion in Australia could bring an economic blow of up to 80 billion dollars.

“Travellers arriving from Indonesia will be subject to much stricter biosecurity screening due to the presence of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in Indonesia,” said a statement issued by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry on July 19.

“Failure to declare biosecurity risks will constitute a breach of Australia’s biosecurity laws, and anyone found in breach can be issued with an infringement notice of up to $2664.

“Travellers entering Australia on temporary visas may have their visas canceled and, if so, will be refused entry to Australia.”

While FMD is relatively harmless to humans, it causes blisters and painful lesions in 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 carried by live animals, in meat and dairy products, as well as in clothing, shoes or even in the luggage of people who have come into contact with infected animals.

“The impacts on farmers if foot and mouth get involved are very hard to imagine,” Fiona Simson, president of the National Farmers Federation, told CNN last month.

“But it’s not just about farmers. Wiping $80 billion off Australia’s GDP would be an economic disaster for everyone.”

Top image: Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

CNN’s Hilary Whiteman also contributed to this report.

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