A traveler was fined 2,664 Australian dollars — $1,874 US dollars — for illegally trafficking’s McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches into Australia from Bali, Indonesia.
The passenger, who remains unnamed, failed to declare two McDonald’s egg and beef sausage McMuffins and a ham croissant before landing at the Darwin Airport in Australia’s Northern Territory last week.
Days prior to the incident, Australia implemented stricter biosecurity policies after an Indonesian outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease spread to Bali.
According to experts, a Foot and Mouth outbreak in Australia could create an $80 billion devastation in the country.
Australia’s minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Murray Watt said, “Australia is Foot and Mouth-free, and we want it to stay that way.”
The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry issued a statement saying that a “range of undeclared risk products,” were found in the traveler’s luggage apart from the McDonalds sandwiches.
Watt said “This will be the most expensive ‘Maccas’ meal this passenger ever has. 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 ministry’s statement also stated that 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.”
Foot and Mouth is generally harmless to people, but can be devastating to mammals with cloven-hooved feet. Cows, pigs, goats, sheep, and camels can develop blisters and lesions on their hooves and mouths if they become exposed to the responsible pathogen. If left untreated, it can become so painful for the animals that they stop eating and walking.
According to the World Health Organization, Foot and Mouth can be transmitted by live carriers as well as in meat, dairy, or on people’s personal effects.
Last month, the president of the National Farmers’ Federation, Fiona Simson said, “The impacts on farmers if foot and mouth gets in are too gut-wrenching to even contemplate. But it’s not just about farmers. Wiping $80 billion off Australia’s GDP would be an economic disaster for everyone.”