McDonald's breakfast costs Aussie traveler $2,664: Here's why
Australia has the reputation of imposing hefty fines to maintain strict laws. However, it was quite shocking when a traveler had to pay a fine of $2,664 after a detector dog named Zinta sniffed out a McDonald's breakfast in his luggage! The meal including two eggs and beef sausage, McMuffins, and a ham croissant from McDonald's Bali caught Zinta's attention at Darwin Airport, Australia.
The penalty for the unannounced dairy and meat products from Indonesia is part of the active biosecurity efforts which were implemented to prevent the spread of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) into Australia. The measure has been taken by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry to alleviate the biosecurity threat. The meat products were destroyed after getting tested for FMD.
Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a contagious disease among cloven-hoofed animals like cows, sheep, goats, pigs, deer, and buffaloes. It was the first animal pathogen identified as a virus. FMD outbreaks in some countries and their economic impact have been a matter of huge concern worldwide.
Australia has stringent biosecurity laws designed to protect its large agriculture industry from any imported diseases and pests. Although the disease poses no risk to humans, it is a highly contagious viral disease for livestock. Currently, the country is on high alert after an outbreak of FMD in Indonesia was reported. All meats imported from the country are being screened now.
"This will be the most expensive Maccas meal this passenger ever has," Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry Minister Murray Watt said. "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," the minister further said.
The traveler was issued a "12-unit infringement notice for failing to declare potential high biosecurity risk items and providing a false and misleading document." Watt said, "Biosecurity is no joke — it helps protect jobs, our farms, food and supports the economy. Passengers who choose to travel need to make sure they are fulfilling the conditions to enter Australia, by following all biosecurity measures."
On July 5, Indonesian authorities confirmed that there had been an FMD outbreak in livestock. Since then, authorities have been tightening security at the border as Australia is FMD-free. According to the department, FMD can spread through meat and dairy products even if they are frozen. The infringement notice served to the man is the standard cost of failing to declare biosecurity risks.