Shocking items caught by bio-security
Sun, 03 Jun 2012 6:06p.m.
By Brook Sabin
3 News can reveal the shocking array of bio-security items being stopped at our airports.
They range from animal carcasses, tonnes of fruit, illegal bear bile, a live poodle and even a dried deer penis.
It's all contained in a major audit of our bio-security system, obtained by 3 News.
“Most of the things on the table [of confiscated items] weren't declared to us,” says Craig Hughes of the Ministry of Primary Industries. “We've got a variety of risk products like dried frogs, and we've got fruit fly host material, which is a variety of things including tomatoes, apples and lycees.”
There's also a dried deer penis – a Chinese medicinal delicacy used in cooking.
There are some other interesting items.
“This is an ostrich leg, which has been poorly dried,” says Mr Hughes. “It's a risk product so it's not allowed to come in.”
All of the items pose a potential risk, and just how well the system is doing is contained in a major audit obtained by 3 News.
It shows in the space of just three weeks at Auckland Airport, items seized totalled 1.8 tonnes of fruit, almost 700kg of meat, 149kg of honey, 45 animal carcasses and 16 taxidermied animals.
That's all pretty standard, but there is the odd day when the unusual turns up.
“Ranging from parrots eggs strapped to people's bodies, to a Paris Hilton-type dog that was found in lady's purse.”
The audit found a relatively small number of items went through the checks unnoticed.
That included 1kg of fruit, 20 dry mushrooms with live insects, almost 3kg of meat, 33 pairs of dirty shoes and 10 vials of bear bile.
That's the digestive juice of a bear that has been held in a cage and milked through a tube attached to the gall bladder.
Overall, the audit shows our bio-security system is meeting compliance targets introduced after compulsory x-rays were dropped for low-risk passengers.
“We have the tightest bio-security in the world,” says Ministry of Primary Industries deputy director general Roger Smith. “We are probably the only country that measures. We know what we miss and we know what we find.”
Earlier this month 3 News revealed bio-security staff cuts, but the Ministry is now working to bolster numbers. They're in the process of recruiting 40 more quarantine inspectors.
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17/08/2012 12:03:22 p.m.
Its time they got serious with people trying to sneak in these things. For a start make the fines hurt, and dont fall for the ole " I dont speak de english" story Word will soon get around...
5/06/2012 12:11:24 p.m.
What have they missed, John n Bill in their wisdom have been cutting back on customs checks.
4/06/2012 4:56:47 p.m.
And this Government wants to cut staff. Another stuff up of Keys and his cohorts
4/06/2012 9:44:18 a.m.
Fair NZer wrote:
Most of these prohibited items can be easily detected by scanning and wonder why some of them can actually into NZ...
3/06/2012 6:37:05 p.m.
Well if the importer of bear bile gets locked up in prison for an extremely long time, then you can say the systems working Mr Rodger Smith.
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