Fast food is harmful: air passenger fined $1 for carrying undeclared burgers from McDonald's

A passenger traveling from Bali, Indonesia to Australia has been fined $1874 after two undeclared McMuffins were found in his luggage. CNN.

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An unnamed traveler was fined $1874 after two undeclared McMuffins egg and beef sandwiches and a ham croissant were found in his luggage last week.

The incident comes just days after tough new biosecurity rules were introduced by Australian authorities after an outbreak of enteroviral vesicular stomatitis (foot-and-mouth disease (FMD)) in Indonesia spread to Bali, a popular destination for Australian tourists.

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The Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry said a biosafety detector dog named Zinta found "a number of undeclared risk products" in a passenger's backpack, including fast food.

“This will be the most expensive Maccas meal this passenger has ever tasted,” said Murray Watt, head of agriculture, fisheries and forestry.

“This fine is twice the cost of an air ticket to Bali, but I have no sympathy for people who choose not to comply with Australia's strict biosecurity measures, although recent findings indicate that you will be caught,” he said.

The statement went on to confirm that the passenger had been issued a "notice of infringement for failing to declare items with a potentially high biosecurity risk and providing a false and misleading document."

The withdrawn products before destruction are subject to check for presence of infection.

“Australia is FMD free and we want to keep it that way,” Watt added.

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Last month, Australia's federal executive government announced a $9,8 million biosecurity package, with new measures implemented outside the country, including sanitary foot mats at all international airports and biosecurity sniffer dogs housed in both airports in Darwin and in Cairns. These measures came after the onset of a highly contagious disease that spreads through cattle in Indonesia.

Experts estimate that an outbreak in Australia could cause economic damage of up to $80 billion.

“Travelers arriving from Indonesia will be subject to much stricter biosecurity controls due to the presence of foot-and-mouth disease in Indonesia,” the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry said in a statement released on July 19.

“Breach of biosafety rules would constitute a violation of Australian biosafety laws and anyone found to be in violation could be issued a notice of up to $2664. Travelers entering Australia on temporary visas may have their travel documents revoked, in which case they will be denied entry to Australia,” the statement said.

While relatively harmless to humans, foot-and-mouth disease causes painful blisters and lesions on the mouths and feet of artiodactyl animals such as cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, and camels, which prevents the animals from eating and in some cases causes severe lameness and death.

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The disease can be carried by live animals, in meat and dairy products, and on clothes, shoes, and even luggage of people who have been in contact with infected animals.

“The impact of FMD on farmers is too painful to even think about,” Fiona Simson, president of the National Farmers Federation, said last month.

“But it's not just the farmers. Losing $80 billion of Australia's GDP would be an economic disaster for everyone,” she added.

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