A dried cow pat presented by an arriving air passenger rates as one of the most unusual biosecurity interceptions of the summer so far, says the Ministry for Primary Industries.
A traveller arriving from Malaysia declared the commercially packaged dung last week to MPI staff at Auckland Airport.
It had been brought into New Zealand for burning at a Hindu temple at Otahuhu, says Dave Sims, MPI Auckland Airport Manager
“Cow pats are made by mixing fresh cow faeces with hay. We can’t permit them to enter New Zealand as they could contain unwanted seeds, parasites or even plant or animal diseases that could harm the livelihood of farmers and growers.”
Cow pats have been used for centuries to light fires in India.
He says it is very rare for MPI to intercept cow pats, but they may become more common in the future.
“Cows pats are now a commercial product. There’s even a website selling them and some customers want gift wrapping.
“The great thing in this case is the passenger declared the pat. They did everything we ask to safeguard New Zealand’s biosecurity.”