A 60-year-old Vietnamese tourist carrying four kilograms of pork-filled mooncakes has been deported from Australia after failing to declare he was carrying food into Sydney International Airport.
Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie said she has zero tolerance for travelers who intentionally do the wrong thing and lie about what they are carrying.
He is the second person to be refused entry into the country, following Australia’s introduction of tougher biosecurity rules this year as the deadly African swine fever (ASF) virus spreads throughout the globe. He will not be eligible to travel to Australia for three years.
Last month, Australia refused entry to a 45-year-old Vietnamese woman attempting to enter Australia carrying more than 4.5 kilograms of pork.
The disease, which impacts pigs only and does not affect humans, is spread when pigs come into contact with contaminated pigs, pork products, feed, ticks and other fomites. The disease can be found in pork products – but does not impact food safety. It can also be spread by humans wearing contaminated clothing and boots.
"If pork products carrying the virus get past our border, are eaten by family and friends and the leftovers fed to pigs then we'll be in a world of pain," McKenzie said to ABC News.
The Australian agriculture industry fears the disease could be transmitted via air passengers traveling through Melbourne and Sydney's airports, or spread through the feral pig population which is 10 times the size of its domestic pig herd, ABC News reports.
In April, Australian migration laws were amended to shorten or cancel a visitor visa for biosecurity reasons and the importation of objectionable goods.
"A recent round of testing found nearly 50% of pork products seized from air travelers tested positive for African swine fever," McKenzie said.
The country has also banned the import of pig products from countries infected with ASF.
In the first 8 months of the year, Australian border officials have confiscated 27 metric tons of pork products at Australian airports.
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