A sausage and egg McMuffin from McDonald's
Wikimedia Commons | FBenjr123

Passenger Hit With $2,000 Fine For Bringing Two McMuffins Into Australia

By now, we should all know that Australia does things a little bit differently. The land down under has been known to take a hard line when it comes to the rules, possibly because everything in Australia is trying to kill you at all times.

In the latest example of this, the Australian government has hit a traveler with a hefty fine of $2,664 Australian dollars. Why? They brought two McMuffins into the country.

As always, context is everything.

Exterior of a McDonald's location
Unsplash | Ravi Sharma

Australia hasn't banned McMuffins or anything like that. Aussies like their fast food as much as anyone, even if their version of Burger King is called Hungry Jack's.

No, the violation wasn't over McMuffins per se, it had to deal with safety.

The country is fighting back against foot and mouth disease (FMD).

A crane flying an Australian flag
Unsplash | David Clode

After an outbreak in Indonesia that spread to Bali — just a stone's throw away from Australia in terms of international travel — Australia imposed tough new rules in an effort to keep the disease out of the country.

A traveler from Indonesia learned of the new rules the hard way.

Lineup at an airport
Unsplash | Phil Mosley

An unnamed traveler coming from Indonesia — the epicenter of said outbreak — was carrying back two undeclared sausage and egg McMuffins, along with a ham croissant, when they were nabbed at the airport.

A biosecurity detector dog found the contraband McD's.

A dismantled McDonald's breakfast intercepted by Australian customs
Australian Government | Australian Government

After the dog sniffed out the McMuffins, the meal was seized. It'll be tested for FMD and then destroyed. As for the traveler, they were hit with a $2,664 AUD fine. That's about $1,874 in U.S. dollars.

It's a pricey lesson.

An Australian $1 bill
Wikimedia Commons | Reserve Bank of Australia

"This will be the most expensive Maccas meal this passenger ever has, this fine is twice the cost of an airfare to Bali," said Autralia's Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Murray Watt.

"But I have no sympathy for people who choose to disobey Australia's strict biosecurity measures, and recent detections show you will be caught."

Foot and mouth disease is a real concern.

A farmer's field
Unsplash | Dan Meyers

Although it's generally harmless to humans, it can cause big problems for farmers when it comes to biodiversity. As an isolated landmass, Australia is particularly susceptible to invasive species, and is also in a unique position to protect its borders from unwanted viruses.

Australia clearly isn't messing around.

Satellite image of Australia
Wikimedia Commons | Reto Stöckl / NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

"Biosecurity is no joke — it helps protect jobs, our farms, food and supports the economy," said Watt. "Passengers who choose to travel need to make sure they are fulfilling the conditions to enter Australia, by following all biosecurity measures."

There are a few lessons here.

A German shepherd on a leash
Unsplash | Shayna Douglas

The first? It's generally good to be honest and follow all rules when entering a country. The second, and perhaps the most important, is that the biosecurity dog who found this contraband is a very good dog.

What do you think?

A sausage and egg McMuffin from McDonald's
Wikimedia Commons | FBenjr123

Most of us have enjoyed a McMuffin or two in our time, but very few of us have faced four-figure fines for possessing said McMuffins.

Let us know what you think of this story / cautionary tale in the comments section.