Passenger fined ,874 after two undeclared McMuffins found in luggage

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

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

The unnamed passenger was fined A$2,664 ($1,874) after two undeclared eggs 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 comes 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 “series of undeclared risk products”, including fast food items, were found in the passenger’s backpack by a biosecurity detection dog named Zinta.

“This will be the most expensive Maccas meal this passenger has ever had,” Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister Murray Watt said in a statement.

“This fine is twice the price of a plane ticket to Bali, but I have no sympathy for people who choose to defy Australia’s strict biosecurity measures, and the latest findings show you will be caught.”

Strict biosecurity measures

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

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

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

The statement went on to confirm that the passenger had been issued with a “12 unit infringement notice for failing to declare potential biosecurity high risk items and providing a false and misleading document”. The seized produce is to be tested for foot-and-mouth disease before it is destroyed.

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

Last month, Australia’s federal executive government announced a $9.8 million biosecurity package with new measures being rolled out across the country’s borders, including sanitary mats at all international airports and biosecurity dogs stationed at both Darwin Airport and Cairns, after the outbreak 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 controls due to the presence of FMD in Indonesia,” said a statement released by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry on July 19.

“Failure to declare biosecurity risks will be a breach of Australian biosecurity laws and anyone found in breach can be issued with an infringement notice of up to $2,664.

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

While foot-and-mouth disease is relatively harmless to humans, it causes painful blisters and lesions on the mouths and feet of ungulates such as cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and camels, preventing them from feeding and causing severe lameness and death in some cases.

The disease can be transmitted from live animals, in meat and dairy products, and on the clothing, shoes or even luggage of people who have come into contact with infected animals.

“The impacts on farmers if foot and mouth disease hits are too painful to think about,” Fiona Simson, president of the National Farmers Federation, told CNN last month.

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

Top image: Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

CNN’s Hillary Whiteman also contributed to this report.

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