Box of dead turtles among tonnes of products found in biosecurity haul

Dead turtles, raw prawns and frog meat have been uncovered in a raid on a warehouse in western Sydney in one of the biggest seizures of products that breach biosecurity laws in the nation’s history.

The haul was uncovered after one Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry biosecurity officer noticed a box of turtles in a box during a routine inspection on February 15.

Avian meat was discovered in the raid.

Two days later, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry officers on February 17 executed a search warrant at the warehouse, where they discovered 116 types of animal products.

Biosecurity officers sorted through 250 tonnes of goods to identify 38 tonnes of products including raw beef, chicken, duck, pig meat and geese that were deemed to be biosecurity risks.

The items were seized and have now been stored in seven shipping containers.

One of the turtles seized in the raid.

More raids at other locations across the state were executed in the following days with the assistance of Australian Federal Police.

The investigation is ongoing and biosecurity officers are still working with the AFP as well as Australian Border Force. Penalties for breaching the Biosecurity Act include up to 10 years’ jail and fines of up to $1.3 million for an individual and $6.8 million for a business.

Agriculture Minister Murray Watt said exotic pests and diseases posed a significant threat to Australia’s agricultural sector.

“We often see smaller quantities of risk products brought in through parcels in the mail or carried by incoming passengers, and officers work extremely hard to stamp out these threats,” he said.

“However, a discovery of this size and nature is a stark reminder of what’s at stake if we don’t continue to fiercely protect our precious biosecurity.

“Biosecurity is critical. Our biosecurity officers are on the front line of defence, which is why we allocated $134 million in funding in the last budget to bolster Australia’s biosecurity system.”

Get to the heart of what’s happening with climate change and the environment. Our fortnightly Environment newsletter brings you the news, the issues and the solutions. Sign up here.

Most Viewed in National

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article