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Beef rendang. Photo: Handout

Indonesian man deported for smuggling 6kg of meat into Australia amid foot and mouth outbreak fears

  • Traveller was fined and ordered to leave after border officers detected about 6kg of undeclared meat, including 1.4kg of beef rendang in his bag
  • Australia stepped up border measures to prevent foot and mouth disease from getting into the country following an outbreak on the Indonesian island of Bali
An Indonesian man was fined and deported after large quantities of undeclared meat, including 1.4kg of beef rendang (a dish slow-cooked in coconut milk and spices), were found in his luggage by airport officials in Australia.
Australia has in recent months stepped up surveillance and biosecurity measures at borders to prevent foot and mouth disease from getting into the country following an outbreak in the Indonesian tourist hotspot of Bali.

Biosecurity officers at Perth airport also detected 3.1kg of duck meat, more than 500g of frozen beef and about 900g of chicken in the visitor’s bags.

He had selected “no” on his pre-arrival passenger card that asked if he was bringing any meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs or vegetables into Australia.

Indonesia intensified its vaccination programme on community livestock affected by the foot and mouth virus due to increasing number of cases in the country. Photo: EPA-EFE/File
Border officials cancelled his visa and repatriated him back to Indonesia on Sunday. They added the traveller, who was also fined A$2,664 (US$1,711), had planned to sell the meat to members of the local community.

“This is why legislation is in place to cancel the visa of any traveller who commits a significant biosecurity breach or repeatedly contravenes biosecurity laws,” Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil told the PerthNow news website.

Foot and mouth is a highly contagious disease that affects cattle, sheep, goats and pigs. It is characterised by fever and blister-like sores on the tongue and lips, in the mouth, on the teats and between the hooves.

A foot-and-mouth disease outbreak ripped through two Indonesian provinces since April, killing thousands of cows and infecting hundreds of thousands more. Photo: AFP/File
Australia has expressed fears about a potential outbreak that could devastate its A$32 billion ( US$22 billion) livestock industry.
In August, a person travelling from Indonesia to Australia was fined A$2,664 after two undeclared egg and beef sausage McMuffins and a ham croissant were discovered in their luggage upon arriving at Darwin airport.

“This will be the most expensive Maccas (McDonald’s) 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,” Agriculture Minister Murray Watt said at the time.

Visitors who have their visa revoked are removed from Australia on the earliest available flight and face a three-year ban before they are allowed to reapply for an entry permit.