The air passenger said the gumboots were clean; the goat manure and the snail said otherwise…
Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) border staff issued the French passenger with a $400 fine earlier this month for failing to declare biosecurity risk goods when he arrived at Auckland airport on a flight from Papua New Guinea.
The passenger initially said he had scrubbed the boots with bleach. On inspection they were found to be contaminated with manure from a goat farm. An MPI quarantine inspector found the snail inside the boots when cleaning them.
“The boots posed high biosecurity risk to New Zealand. If they had only been used on the street in the city, it would have been okay. But, as they came from a farm, they could have been carrying diseases with potential to have a devastating impact on our farming industries,” says MPI team manager Paul Ruttley.
Mr Ruttley says it is fairly common for MPI quarantine inspectors to intercept dirty boots, but very unusual to have a hitch-hiking snail.
MPI has found cane toads from Australia inside boots in the past.
Photo of snail from gumboot.
NB. Photo of gumboots available on request.