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Yak meat seized at border

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 31/05/2016

The seizure of a Mongolian woman's yak meat at the border - and her homemade cheese - is no laughing matter, border security says.

The woman arrived at Auckland airport last week with a note from her daughter saying she was bringing home food, Ministry for Primary Industries Auckland Airport manager Dave Sims said.

A Customs search of her bag found yak meat wrapped in foil and some homemade Mongolian cheese.

Mr Sims said there was no way the meat could be allowed into the country, given the billions of dollars of damage it could do.

"Mongolian livestock has been afflicted by foot-and-mouth disease. This is a disease we definitely don't want in New Zealand," he said.

"It has the potential to wipe some $16 billion from the New Zealand economy."

The family had done the right thing by leaving a note with the woman - who did not speak English - to declare the food to Customs.

"This shows that New Zealand's biosecurity message is spreading even to the outer reaches of Mongolia," Mr Sims said.

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