DARWIN, Australia — A passenger traveling from Bali, Indonesia to Australia 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 ham croissant were found in their luggage upon 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 following an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in Indonesia that 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 sniffer dog named Zinta.
“This will be the most expensive Maccas (Australian nickname for McDonald’s) meal this passenger has ever had,” said Murray Watt, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. he said in a statement.
“This fine is twice the cost of a plane ticket to Bali, but I have no sympathy for people who choose to disobey Australia’s strict biosecurity measures and recent findings suggest you will be caught.”
Strict biosecurity measures
The statement went on to confirm that the passenger had been issued with a “12-point infringement notice for failing to declare potential biosecurity high risk items and providing a false and misleading document”. Seized products must be tested for FMD before being destroyed.
“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 sanitization pads at all international airports and biosecurity dogs stationed at Darwin Airport and Cairns, after the onset of the highly contagious disease. spread through cattle in Indonesia.
Experts estimate that an outbreak in Australia could cause an economic hit of up to $80 billion.
“Travellers arriving from Indonesia will be subject to much stricter biosecurity screening due to the presence of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in Indonesia.” read a statement released by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry on 19 July.
“Failure to declare biosecurity risks will be in breach of Australia’s biosecurity laws and anyone found to be in breach could be issued with an infringement notice of up to $2,664.
“Travellers who enter Australia on a temporary visa may have their visas canceled and, if so, be refused entry to Australia.”
While foot-and-mouth disease is relatively harmless to humans, it causes painful blisters and lesions in the mouths and feet of ungulates 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 from live animals, to meat and dairy products, as well as on the clothing, footwear or even luggage of people who have come into contact with infected animals.
“The impact on farmers if foot and mouth gets in is too scary to think about,” Fiona Simpson, president of the National Farmers Union, told CNN last month.
“But it’s not just about farmers. Wiping $80 billion out of Australia’s GDP would be an economic disaster for everyone.”
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McDonald’s breakfast fine: Passenger from Bali to Australia fined $1,874 after 2 undeclared McMuffins found in luggage Source link McDonald’s breakfast fine: Passenger from Bali to Australia fined $1,874 after 2 undeclared McMuffins found in luggage