Visitors to Australia caught with almost 42 tonnes of illegal meat

Sheep Central May 3, 2017

MEAT items continue to be the most common biosecurity contraband seized at Australian airports among the 273,000-plus items confiscated by authorities in 2016.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources said the number of items of biosecurity concern seized at airports increased by more 6 percent last year.

The items seized at the border in 2016 included:

  • 41,957kg of meat, an increase of 13pc since 2015
  • 11,579kg of legumes, an increase of 12pc
  • 7375kg seeds, an increase of 28pc
  • 23,296 items of pome fruit (mainly apples), an increase of 8pc.

Head of biosecurity at the department, Lyn O’Connell, said the increase in seizures from 256,000 in 2015 was a concern for biosecurity officers.

“With the help of the travelling public we can reverse this emerging trend.

“In 2016 biosecurity officers screened 4.1 million international passengers—it’s a big job. Travellers need to play their part in protecting our nation,” Ms O’Connell said.

“The onus is on people to do the right thing—think about what is being packed and if unsure check, fill out the Incoming Passenger Cards correctly, declare everything honestly and leave plane food on the plane.

“Australia is lucky to be free from many pests and diseases, but increased overseas travel means an increased risk of new pests and diseases entering Australia that could seriously impact our unique environment, agricultural industries and our plant, animal and human health status,” she said.

“Pork products in particular can carry Foot-and-Mouth Disease which, should it become established in the country, has been estimated to cost Australia around $50 billion over a decade.

“These small acts could lead to real impacts for our farmers and consumers, and people need to think about the impacts their items could have before they pack them,” Ms O’Connell said.

“If passengers bring in an apple, even if it was given to them on an international flight, it could carry fruit fly, which could seriously damage our $556 million apple industry.

“Fruit fly could reduce market access and profits for our farmers and increase their production costs.”

Ms O’Connell said biosecurity officers actively target deliberate concealment and non-compliance with Australia’s quarantine laws using the best science, analysis and intelligence.

“Those breaking the law are punished accordingly.”

For more information on what can and can’t be brought to Australia visit

Source: DAFWR.


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