Following the outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease in Indonesia, a popular tourist destination for Australians, a passenger faced the brunt of tighter travel guidelines.
An unnamed passenger traveling from Bali, Indonesia, to Australia was charged a hefty fine of $1,874 after airport security found two undeclared egg and beef sausage McMuffins as well as a ham croissant in their luggage. The fast food items were detected in the passenger's rucksack by a biosecurity detector dog named Zinta. The incident took place just days after Australian authorities introduced tough new biosecurity rules following a Foot and Mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in Indonesia spread to Bali, a popular destination for Australian tourists. Murray Watt, Australia's Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry, released a statement defending the fine, CNN reports.
A passenger traveling from Bali, Indonesia to Australia has found themselves paying a hefty price for a McDonald's breakfast.https://t.co/VcV0NPEIJy— CNN (@CNN) August 2, 2022
"This will be the most expensive Maccas meal this passenger ever has," Watt affirmed in his statement. "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." His statement went on to confirm that the passenger was handed a "12-unit infringement notice for failing to declare potential high biosecurity risk items and providing a false and misleading document." Prior to being destroyed, the food items were tested for Foot and Mouth disease. Watt added, "Australia is FMD-free, and we want it to stay that way."
The disease first began spreading through cattle in Indonesia a month ago. This prompted the federal executive government of Australia to announce a $9.8 million biosecurity package. The package includes new measures introduced across the country's borders, including sanitation foot mats at all international airports and biosecurity dogs stationed at both Darwin and Cairns Airport. According to experts, an outbreak of the disease could cost the Australian economy up to $80 billion. Therefore, the country has been highly cautious in preventing an outbreak.
Ignoring the extreme costs of previous reactions to foot and mouth disease, Australia says one case would lead to “Covid-like tracing, culling” of (potentially) infected animals https://t.co/ge7I0ee2Tc https://t.co/Xiba3YGYuk pic.twitter.com/eMh2AOdbg7— Infectious Disease Ethics (@ID_ethics) July 29, 2022
A statement released by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry on July 19 reads, "Travelers arriving from Indonesia will be under much stricter biosecurity scrutiny due to the presence of Foot and Mouth disease (FMD) in Indonesia. 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 $2,664. Travelers entering Australia on temporary visas may have their visas canceled and, if so, will be refused entry into Australia."
All livestock owners should have a farm biosecurity plan and be prepared, to help protect Australia from foot-and-mouth disease (FMD): https://t.co/HScinCkHKU@DAFFgov @AustVetAssoc @NationalFarmers pic.twitter.com/6sFmK6bQJb— Mark Schipp (@MarkSchipp) July 27, 2022
Foot and Mouth disease (FMD) is typically harmless to humans, but it can cause painful blisters and lesions on the mouths and feet of cloven-hooved animals such as cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, and camels, stopping them from eating and causing severe lameness and death in some cases. Fiona Simson, president of the National Farmers' Federation, commented on how dangerous this could be for Australia's farmers. "The impacts on farmers if foot and mouth [disease] gets in are too gut-wrenching to even contemplate," she said in an interview with CNN last month. "But it's not just about farmers. Wiping $80 billion off Australia's GDP would be an economic disaster for everyone."