Deadly virus fears: Woman kicked out of country

A woman has been kicked out of the country for attempting to bring uncooked pork into Sydney's international airport amid fears about the soaring rate of meat products infected with African swine fever reaching Australia.

A 45-year-old Vietnamese woman became the first person to be turned back from Australia under tough new visa laws after biosecurity officers discovered more than 4.6kg of uncooked pork and other undeclared food in her suitcase on Saturday.

The uncooked food seized at Sydney Airport on Saturday.
The uncooked food seized at Sydney Airport on Saturday.

 

African swine fever - a deadly disease wreaking havoc on the pork industry in Asia - is now detected in 50 per cent of pork products seized at Australia's international airports, up from 15 per cent nine months ago.

Border officials have stopped more than 27 tonnes of pig products from coming into Australia since January.

The tough biosecurity laws are designed to protect Australia's domestic pig industry, which is worth about $5.3 billion and supporting more than 36,000 jobs.

 

Saving Australia's bacon from African Swine Fever
Saving Australia's bacon from African Swine Fever

African swine fever was first detected in China in August 2018, and has since spread to other Asian countries, most recently on Australia's doorstep in Timor-Leste.

The disease spreads rapidly and kills in high numbers, prompting fears for the safety of Australia's 2.5 million domestic pig population.

Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie said Australia would not be "taking a backward step" on border protection.

"My job is to protect our farm industries and the hundreds of thousands of jobs they provides," she said.

 

Quarantine officials at pig farm with confirmed African swine fever in South Korea last month. Picture: AP
Quarantine officials at pig farm with confirmed African swine fever in South Korea last month. Picture: AP

"Globally we're known for our safe and clean food and fibre and without that reputation we lose our competitive advantage."

Ms McKenzie said she made "no apologies" for sending the woman who tried to bring pork products into the country back home.

The woman was also caught with more than 1kg of squid, 1.3kg of quail, more than 900g of garlic and 470g of eggs

 

The woman was also caught with 1kg of squid, 1.3kg of quail, and 470g of eggs.
The woman was also caught with 1kg of squid, 1.3kg of quail, and 470g of eggs.