$120,000 fine for biosecurity breaches
A Brisbane company and its director have been fined a total of $120,000 for biosecurity breaches associated with the transport and storage of imported uncooked pig meat during 2014 and 2015.
The case was heard at Brisbane District Court in December, with the director fined $20,000 and placed on a three year good behaviour bond.
The company was also fined $100,000.
It was also found guilty of 76 separate offences relating to “dealing with landed cargo in quarantine” contrary to s44B(3) of the Quarantine Act 1908.
The company was required to transport the imported containers directly to an approved arrangement site or to the processing facility of the importer, for effective biosecurity control.
However, the containers were instead being stored at a non-approved site and in contravention of directions issued by the department.
The Federal Department of Agriculture and Water Resources issued a statement which said the company’s actions could have exposed Australia’s agricultural industries, environment and the community to serious biosecurity risk.
“Biosecurity directions are issued for a reason,” the statement said.
“Importers and those within supply chains must comply.
“It sends a clear message that breaches of Australia’s biosecurity conditions will not be tolerated.”
The Department said pig meat could carry foot and mouth disease, which could cost Australia around $50 billion in a decade, and African swine fever, which has no known cure.
While African swine fever is harmless to humans, it is currently spreading throughout Asia and Europe and is a major threat to Australia’s $5.3 billion pork industry.
For more information on biosecurity, visit agriculture.gov.au/biosecurity.
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