DARWIN, NT — A man returning from Indonesia to Australia was fined thousands of Australian dollars after airport security found several McDonald's food items in the man's luggage after he touched down.
The Australian government said in a statement that the man was singled out by a "biosecurity detector dog" trained to sniff out meat. When security inspected his backpack, they found two egg and beef sausage McMuffins from a Mcdonald's restaurant in Bali and a ham croissant.
The man, who was not identified, faces a fine of $2664 (AUS) — equivalent to about $1843.45 USD — for the smuggled sandwiches. Officially, the infringement notice is for failing to declare potential high biosecurity risk items and providing a false and misleading document.
“This will be the most expensive Maccas meal this passenger ever has," said Murray Watt, the Australian Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. "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."
McDonald's, called Maccas in Australia, is the world's largest restaurant company, with over 37,000 locations in 120 countries.
Undeclared meat products are banned from coming into Australia to prevent the spread of diseases, such as foot and mouth disease, to the island nation.
Foot and mouth disease is a common children's virus that causes sores in the mouth and a rash on a patient's limbs among a host of other symptoms. It's spread by direct contact with saliva or mucus. More than 200,000 cases are reported each year, but none in Australia -- and Watt said officials want to keep it that way.
The seized meal will be tested for foot and mouth disease and then destroyed, the Australian government said.