Two Thai vineyard workers have both been fined $1,900 and ordered to pay court costs of $130 each after bringing high-risk pork sausages to New Zealand from Asia, says the Ministry for Primary Industries.
Benjamat Pingwong and Orawan Leekongbab pleaded guilty to one charge each under the Biosecurity Act when they appeared in the Blenheim District Court earlier this month, MPI said.
The pair's offending came to light after they arrived in New Zealand on separate flights directly from Singapore one day apart from each other in October last year.
The court heard that when biosecurity staff checked both women's luggage, they discovered a sealed package labelled 'dried squid', but which actually contained pork sausages as well as dried squid.
The women denied knowledge of the hidden sausages and both blamed their mothers for putting the product into the same packet as the dried squid.
MPI compliance investigations manager Gary Orr said this sort of offending was very serious.
"You can't underestimate the risk posed by bringing prohibited food stuffs into New Zealand," Orr said.
"We're a nation that relies heavily, in an economic sense, on our primary industries, so the introduction of any invasive pests and diseases through the importation of risk goods makes us particularly vulnerable.
"Pork is prohibited from entry into New Zealand and is considered especially risky due to the prevalence of foot-and-mouth disease in Thailand," he said.
"Biosecurity breaches have huge impacts on the country as a whole and have the potential to have a serious impact on our international reputation as well."
Two Thai vineyard workers have both been fined $1,900 and ordered to pay court costs of $130