Juggling balls seized at border

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Media contact: MPI media team
Telephone: 029 894 0328

An Argentinian traveller will have to re-think her juggling act after the Ministry for Primary Industries found her juggling balls to be infested with weevils.

The balls were intercepted last week during a search of the air passenger's baggage at Auckland Airport. She had arrived from Buenos Aires.

An MPI Quarantine Officer noticed weevils on the balls. Further examination showed they were stuffed with dried corn and more insects.

"We take a special interest in juggling equipment, as the balls are often filled with seeds – something that many travellers are unaware of," says Dave Sims, MPI Team Manager, Auckland Airport.

"We often pick up the seeds and other organic material when the balls pass through border x-ray screening. Our biosecurity detector dogs are also good at finding seeds.  

"In most of these cases the passenger will get a warning rather than a fine, as juggling balls are not something that many travellers would think to declare."

"It's an opportunity to educate the traveller in question about the importance of biosecurity to New Zealand."

He says it is very rare to find dried corn used as stuffing.

The passenger was planning to spend a year in New Zealand. Thankfully, she had other juggling equipment that did not pose any biosecurity risk to New Zealand's economy or environment.

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