Small goods - big trouble
23 December 2004
Not many people would be prepared to pay more than $9000 a kilo for smallgoods, but that’s exactly what a Swiss salami smuggler was fined in Perth Magistrates Court yesterday.
The visiting student was fined $4000 for failing to declare just over 400 grams of salami when he arrived in Australia in November.
The prohibited meat product — which could have carried diseases as deadly as foot and mouth — was detected during routine X-ray examination by Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) officers at Perth International Airport. When he was asked why he’d hidden the salami and not declared it, he replied that he’d intended to eat it.
According to AQIS’s Perth Airport acting manager Ian Ladner, the fine sends a strong message that Australia means business when it comes to protecting our agriculture industries from exotic pests and diseases.
“The foot and mouth outbreak in the United Kingdom in February 2001 brought home to Australians just how easily livelihoods can be devastated by exotic diseases,” Ian says.
“With so many people travelling at this time of year, the penalty serves as a reminder to passengers that they must declare all items of quarantine concern – including food and souvenirs made with animal or plant material.”
AQIS screens all incoming flights for pest and disease risks, using a combination of detector dogs, X-ray examination and physical inspection of passengers’ bags.
“Perth International Airport has close to 100 Quarantine officers, four X-ray machines and ten detector dog teams, so travellers should be aware that they will be caught if they put Australia at risk by smuggling quarantine items,” Ian says.
Jen O’Reilly DAFF Media +61 2 6272 3232
17 Jul 2006