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WELLINGTON, 18 April 2017:
A suitcase full of fruit and vegetables had stopped a US woman from entering New Zealand. The woman had failed to declare the produce when she arrived at Christchurch airport on Saturday, said the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
MPI staff detected the goods during x-ray screening of the passenger’s bag after she arrived on a flight from Sydney, Australia, and she was forced to return to Sydney the same day on the next available flight.
“The passenger admitted she was deliberately trying to smuggle the food into New Zealand. When asked why, she said didn’t want to cause delays for her travelling companions and she wasn’t sure what she could bring in,” said MPI border clearance manager Andrew Spelman in a statement.
“The suitcase included oranges, apples, avocados, sweet potato and carrots. We’re talking potential host materials for a range of bugs could that devastate New Zealand’s horticulture sector.
“The deliberate and reckless nature of her actions forced our hand. They needed to be dealt with more severely than a warning or a simple infringement notice.”
New Zealand has some of the strictest biosecurity rules in the world, and inbound travellers must declare a range of products as well as all foods.
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