Izzy snags a pear of deadly bags at Sydney Airport

21 March 2019

(Issued by Department of Agriculture)

Every dog has their day and biosecurity detector dog Izzy recently had hers—detecting over ten kilos of undeclared and illegally imported fruit and meat products in a passenger’s bags.

Head of Biosecurity, Lyn O’Connell, said the passenger had put Australia at risk, as meat products can carry a range of diseases, including Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).

“Izzy was doing some routine sniffing when she responded to a passenger’s bag and our biosecurity officers soon found out what had caught her nose”, Ms O’Connell said.

“They found almost 8 kilos of nashi pears, 2 kilos of oranges, 325 grams of chicken meat and more than 2 kilos of pork products that included pig meat, sausages and trotters.

“These types of meat products can transmit diseases that would be devastating for Australia, including African swine fever (ASF) and FMD.

“A further search revealed the passenger was also carrying 650 grams of nashi pears in another bag.

“There is no excuse if you bring these or other biosecurity risk items to Australia. Either leave them at home, or don’t be sorry and just declare them.”

If it arrived in Australia, FMD could cost our economy billions and take a decade to eradicate. Fragments of FMD and ASF were recently detected in pork products intercepted at Australia’s airports and mail centres, so the risk is real.

The fresh fruit in the passenger’s bag could have been harbouring diseases and pests such as citrus canker and fruit fly. Both of these could have a devastating impact on Australia’s horticulture industries.

The goods were destroyed and the passenger was issued an infringement notice.

“Our dogs do a great job sniffing out potential risk items, but every passenger that travels to Australia has an obligation to follow our conditions,” Ms O’Connell said.

“It can save you time and money, as well as ensure you are doing your part to keep our country free of deadly pests and diseases.”

For more information on items that should not be brought to Australia, visit Travelling or sending goods to Australia.

Photos available on request