Price of taking 2 McMuffins and a ham croissant to Australia: $2.6k
SYDNEY (AFP) - A traveller arriving in Australia from Indonesia has been hit with an almost $2,600 fine after border guards detected two McMuffins and a ham croissant in their backpack.
Biosecurity detector dog Zinta sniffed out the egg-and-meat contraband at Darwin Airport, prompting the eye-watering fine, officials said on Monday (Aug 1).
“This will be the most expensive Maccas (Australian slang for McDonald's) meal this passenger ever has,” said Australian agriculture minister Murray Watt.
Australia has hyper-stringent biosecurity laws designed to protect the country’s large agriculture industry from imported pests and diseases.
The authorities are now on high alert after an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Indonesia, with all meat imports from that country undergoing screening.
It poses no direct risk to humans but is a severe, highly contagious viral disease in livestock.
At A$2,664 (S$2,577), the fine was equivalent to the cost of 567 sausage and egg McMuffins in Sydney, or several return flights to Bali.
A month ago, an Australian woman returning from a trip to Europe was fined the same amount when she arrived in Perth.
She was carrying a Subway sandwich picked up at Changi Airport while in transit.
Ms Jessica Lee, who had quit her job before going on the trip with her partner, said it would be hard for her to pay the fine. Subway later sent her a gift card to make up the amount.