The Australian agriculture minister said on Tuesday that Australia cancelled a Vietnamese woman’s tourist visa after she tried to smuggle more than 4.5 kilogrammes of pork into the country.
The minister, Bridget McKenzie, said that the 45-year-old woman had failed to declare cooked pork upon arriving at Sydney International Airport on Saturday.
McKenzie said that the woman was sent home to Vietnam and banned from returning to Australia for three years.
She added that it was the first time a visitor’s tourist visa was cancelled for biosecurity reasons.
Vietnam has culled about 16 per cent of its pig stock, or more than four million pigs, a government official said in September.
Australian agriculture and biosecurity authorities are desperately trying to defend the borders to keep the country free from African swine fever, now affecting some 19 countries in Asia and Europe.
“If you are travelling from an African swine fever country, we are watching you.
“We need to keep our pest-free and disease-free status as a strong country,” McKenzie told reporters in Canberra.
She said that the disease could deal a heavy blow to Australia’s 5.3-billion-dollar (3.6-billion-U.S-dollar) pork industry, as well as the 36,000 jobs that depended on it.
According to government figures, Australia has around 2.5 million domestic pigs. But there are estimated to be five times more feral pigs.
Australian border officials say they have seized 27 tonnes of cooked pork from luggage and parcels since February.
McKenzie said of that, the proportion of contaminated meat with swine fever had increased from 15 per cent in February to 48 per cent in September. (NAN)
Edited by Halima Sheji/Emmanuel Yashim