(CNN) — Australian border officials kicked a Vietnamese tourist out of the country after they found 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of banned food products in her luggage, including a large amount of raw pork -- amid global concerns over swine fever. The median baggage allowance for international flights is 23.5 kilograms (52 pounds), meaning almost half of the woman's packing was potentially made up of food products, including both raw and cooked meat, fruit, squid, eggs, pate and garlic.
"The passenger, a 45 year old woman from Vietnam, had her visitor visa canceled for failing to declare an extensive cache of food concealed in her luggage, including over 4.5 kilos of pork," Minister for Agriculture Bridget McKenzie said in a statement. "In the midst of what is potentially the biggest animal disease event the world has seen, it beggars belief that someone would deliberately attempt to bring pork meat past our border."
The woman was traveling with 4.5 kilograms (10 pounds) of pork, a particular concern for Australian officials amid a worldwide swine fever epidemic.
Australia Border Force
The woman was flagged by border officials at Sydney airport and pulled aside for a check after she didn't declare any banned items to customs. She is the first tourist to have her visa canceled and be expelled from the country over a breach of biosecurity laws. She will be allowed to return in three years.
"We are watching you," McKenzie told reporters on Tuesday. "She was detected by officials as someone of interest ... she went through the biosecurity questioning, she had not declared, and in her suitcase was 10 kilograms of a mixture of quail, squid, cooked pork products and the like, all of which pose a significant biosecurity risk to our country." Australia has in the past been devastated by pests and diseases that the native ecosystem has no protections against, and the country has heavy restrictions on what tourists can bring in.
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In 2016, actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard made what appeared to be a grovelling public apology in a video produced by the Australian government after they were caught smuggling their two Yorkshire terriers into the country. "One quarter of the world's pigs will be dead by the end of this year from African swine fever which kills about 80% of the pigs it infects and there's no vaccine and no cure," McKenzie said earlier this month, after the disease was detected in East Timor, less than 700 kilometers (435 miles) from the country's northern coast.
"Since we increased border checks we've been seizing 100 kilograms per week in illegal pork products. Between 5 November 2018 and 31 August 2019 over 27 tonnes of pork were intercepted on air travelers entering Australia."