An airline passenger arrived at an Australian airport with undeclared food, and officials weren’t lovin’ it.
A detector dog sniffed out the breach in biosecurity last week after a passenger traveling from Indonesia snuck a McDonald's meal on a flight to Darwin International Airport in Australia.
The airport’s new biosecurity detector dog Zinta discovered the two egg and beef sausage McMuffins and a ham croissant in the passenger’s backpack. The passenger was slapped with a 12-unit infringement, amounting to $2,664, or $1,874 in American dollars, for failure to declare potential high biosecurity risk items and issuing a false and misleading travel declaration form.
“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,” Murray Watt, Australia’s minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry said in a statement.
According to Watt, Zinta was placed at Darwin Airport in an effort by to combat its biosecurity efforts. Australia is currently free of foot and mouth disease (FMD), and dogs like Zinta work to secure that status. The loot from Mickey D’s will be tested for FMD and will later be destroyed.
“Biosecurity is no joke — it helps protect jobs, our farms, food, and supports the economy,” Watts added in his statement. “Passengers who choose to travel need to make sure they are fulfilling the conditions to enter Australia by following all biosecurity measures.”
Biosecurity measures might serve as food for thought for travelers headed to the island country where food-safety laws are particularly strict.
In July, a woman traveling from Singapore was fined $2,664 Australian dollars for forgetting to declare half of a Subway Footlong once she landed in Australia. The 19-year-old Australian, Jessica Lee, went viral on TikTok after revealing in a story how jet lag caused her to forget she’d brought a Chicken Footlong topped with lettuce on board and then failed to declare it.
“I just paid $2,600 for my subway just from Singapore,” she explained in her video post at the time. “I bought a footlong Subway at Singapore Airport because I was a hungry girl after my 11-hour flight. I ate six inches before my second flight and then saved the other six inches for the flight, which (airline agents) were more than happy with.”