W.A. Importer pleads guilty to illegal import

A Perth business owner has recently pleaded guilty to illegally importing 26,040 packets of Songlin Brand Fish Maw from Taiwan between July 2007 and July 2010.

The importers owner received a suspended eight month custodial sentence and a $5000 good behaviour bond.

The prohibited fish maw was hidden amongst other products and dishonestly invoiced as the importer was aware that it would be prohibited in Australia.

“Fish maw is traditionally made from the swim bladders of fish, but this brand of the product contains pork skin and not a single trace of fish. Australia does not allow pork products to be imported from Taiwan as biosecurity risks have not been assessed and risk management measures are not in place.

“One of the risks associated with pork products is foot-and-mouth (FMD) disease which, should it become established in the country, has been estimated to cost Australia around $50 billion over a decade. Taiwan had several cases of FMD during the period that the illegal importing took place.”

First Assistant Secretary of the Department of Agriculture’s Compliance Division, Raelene Vivian advised.