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Passenger traveling from Bali to Australia fined $1,800 over hidden McMuffins

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    A passenger flying from Bali to Australia was fined AU$2,664 (approximately US$1,870) after a security dog detected McMuffins and other food items in their luggage.

    The passenger, who has not been identified, was found to be in possession of two egg and beef sausage McMuffins and a ham croissant when they landed at Australia’s Darwin International Airport.

    In a statement, the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry described the items as some of the “undeclared risk products” in the passenger’s luggage.

    As a result, the passenger was issued “a 12-unit infringement notice for failing to declare potential high biosecurity risk items and providing a false and misleading document,” the department said.

    Image via Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

    Australia recently enforced new biosecurity rules in response to a foot and mouth disease (FMD) that has been spreading in Bali for weeks. The passenger’s food items were first tested for the disease before being destroyed.

    “Travelers arriving from Indonesia will be under much stricter biosecurity scrutiny due to the presence of Foot and Mouth disease (FMD) in Indonesia,” a guideline posted on July 19 states. “Failing to declare biosecurity risks will mean a breach of Australia’s biosecurity laws, and anyone found in breach could be issued with an infringement notice of up to AU$2,664.”

    FMD can be carried by live animals, meat and dairy products and even clothing and footwear. While it does not affect humans, unlike hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD), it causes blisters and lesions in the mouth and feet of poultry, affecting agriculture and the economy at large.

    “This will be the most expensive Macca’s meal this passenger ever has,” Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister Murray Watt said of the passenger’s steep fine. “This fine is twice the cost of an airfare to Bali, but I have no sympathy for people who choose to disobey Australia’s strict biosecurity measures, and recent detections show you will be caught.”

    Biosecurity detector dog Zinta with her handler at Darwin International Airport.

    Image via Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

    Watt reminded the public in his statement that Australia is FMD-free. He also stressed the importance of biosecurity in protecting the economy.

    A biosecurity detector dog named Zinta is credited for discovering the McMuffins. “It’s excellent to see she is already contributing to keeping the country safe,” Watt said.

    Featured Image via Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

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