Talk about expensive apples …..
A few years back American actress Hilary Swank made international headlines when she forgot to declare an apple at Auckland Airport.
She is not alone, according to stats recently pulled together by Biosecurity New Zealand. Between 1 January 2018 and 28 April 2023, officers have issued 7966 infringement notices to travellers for failing to declare apples. The travellers were each fined $400.
The busiest year for apple-related fines in this period was 2018 with 3105 infringement notices. There were only 79 fines in 2021 when international borders were largely closed.
The fines, alongside public awareness activities, send a strong biosecurity message to international travellers about the importance of fruit being diposed or declared. They are a particular fruit fly risk – one of the most unwanted threats to the kiwifruit industry.