Australia's red meat and livestock leaders say fast-food restaurant chain Subway must apologise for making a mockery of Australia biosecurity laws.
An individual who inadvertently broke the rules in failing to declare their Subway sandwich bought in from Singapore and was fined by biosecurity officers, has been reimbursed by Subway for the cost of the fine. ACM understands the fine was $2664.
The Red Meat Advisory Council Chair John McKillop said Subway had effectively rewarded a passenger for failing to declare a food product at the border at a time when the nation faced a heightened risk of a foot and mouth disease outbreak.
"It's a national disgrace that Subway has thumbed their nose at Australia's biosecurity arrangements and potentially encouraged a dangerous precedent for others to do the same by reimbursing this passenger for their mistake," he said.
"It only takes one individual to inadvertently cause an exotic disease outbreak like FMD in Australia, that would cause a potential $80 billion hit to the Australian economy.
"For Subway to publicly reward this behaviour is gobsmacking and is a kick in the guts to Australia's agriculture industries and communities whose people and livelihoods depend on keeping diseases like FMD out of Australia.
"Subway needs to apologise for making a mockery of Australia's biosecurity laws."
The criticism came as the federal government announced it had established new Biosecurity Response Zones at international airports in response to the Indonesian outbreak of FMD.
Federal Agriculture Minister Murray Watt said this step-up was the latest measure in the "strongest biosecurity response in Australia's history".
"Earlier this week, I directed my department to investigate what further control measures were available at our international airports," Minister Watt said.
"I had been concerned about some rare reports that some return travellers were not doing the right thing when returning from Indonesia.
"These zones strengthen and widen the powers of biosecurity officers to direct passengers to use foot mats and other biosecurity control measures such as the cleaning of shoes."
Minister Watt said the latest measure was on top of already announced measures which had been rolled out in the past two weeks, since the outbreak was first reported in Bali.
"We have already announced a $14 million assistance package to reduce the risk of FMD spreading from Bali to Australia which included increased detection and protection here in Australia and a million vaccines for the Indonesian cattle industry.
"I also announced the deployment of sanitisation foot mats at all international airports as an additional layer of protection for returning travellers from Indonesia.
"These mats have started to arrive in some airports around the country today and passengers will begin seeing them at customs in the coming days."