An attempt to smuggle pork sausages into the country ended with an Auckland man on home detention, and his family business facing tens of thousand of dollars in fines.
Chaiwat Kangsathien, 40, of Mt Eden, has been sentenced to 10 months home detention for attempting to possess unauthorised goods under the Biosecurity Act, the Ministry for Primary Industries says.
He had earlier pleaded guilty and was sentenced at Auckland District Court on 13 November.
Importer and retailer NP Trading Ltd also faced other charges under the Act and was fined $75,000.
The uncooked pork sausages were part of a consignment of 20 cartons labelled as "snack" food, and was picked up in a biosecurity check as requiring more information before it could be released.
When asked for more details about the imported product, Mr Kansathien said it was fish sausages, MPI said. Further checks revealed there were 10 cartons of fish sausages and the other 10 cartons contained a total of 1200 uncooked pork sausages.
The ministry said importing uncooked pork sausages from Thailand could introduce foot-and-mouth disease to New Zealand. The disease is present in Thailand and the virus can live for more than 50 days in sausages.
"Two thirds of foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks around the world have been caused by infected meat products," said Veronica Herrera, MPI director diagnostic investigative centres and response.
"Illegally imported meat is a very real risk because it can end up in food waste that is not treated appropriately and then fed to susceptible animals, such as pigs, infecting them with the virus. "