Passenger is fined R$9,700 at the airport for carrying McDonald’s snacks in his backpack

A passenger had a huge financial loss for taking McDonald’s sandwiches on a trip, after leaving Bali, Indonesia. The food was in his backpack, and was detected by a sniffer dog upon arrival at Darwin airport in Australia.

The traveler was fined 2,664 Australian dollars (about R$9,700 at the current exchange rate) because he did not declare the two egg and sausage McMuffins and a ham croissant that were in his hand luggage.

According to the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the fine came because the country has recently adopted strict biosecurity rules, and the food found was among the “hazardous products”.

The new determinations were necessary in the country after an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease spread to Bali, which is a popular destination for Australian tourists.

Australian department minister Murray Watt mentioned in a statement that “this will be the most expensive meal the passenger has ever had”. The fine is twice the cost of an air ticket to Bali.

The seized products were tested for foot-and-mouth disease before being destroyed, according to the local government.

Biosecurity measures in Australia

If you are going to enter Australia through one of the country’s borders, you need to be aware of the new biosecurity rules to avoid damage (as happened with the passenger mentioned in the post).

The Australian government announced in July a biosecurity package to prevent foot-and-mouth disease from entering the country with the adoption of measures at all borders, including sanitary mats at all international airports and sniffer dogs at Darwin and Cairns airports.

Travelers arriving from Indonesia will undergo even stricter surveillance due to the presence of foot-and-mouth disease in the country of origin, according to the government.

The disease can be transmitted by live animals, in meat and dairy products, as well as in clothes, shoes or even in the luggage of people who have had contact with infected animals. That’s why inspections have been so strict.

“Failure to declare a biosafety risk will be a violation of Australian law, and anyone violating the rules could receive a notice of up to $2,664. Travelers entering Australia on temporary visas may have their visas cancelled, in which case they will be refused entry to Australia,” the Australian government said in a statement.

disease risks

Although FMD is relatively harmless to humans, it is harmful to animals and can cause death in some cases.

Anyone traveling to Australia after visiting a farm or having contact with livestock outside the country must declare this on their return so that steps can be taken to eliminate the risk of transmission through contaminated clothing or dirty shoes.

According to the Australian government, this care is important because the entry of the disease would have serious consequences for animal health, commerce and the economy of the country and regional communities.

Fines applied

Australia’s biosafety violations are taken very seriously. Penalties for breaking the rules include imprisonment for up to 10 years or a fine of up to US$1,110,000 (or US$5,550,000 for legal entities) or both.

If you are travelling, importing goods or ordering goods by mail, be aware of what is allowed to enter Australia. You can do this by checking the Australian government website.

For further queries, the department can be contacted online.

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