A woman of Indian origin has been ordered to do 200 hours of community service in New Zealand, after being convicted of attempting to smuggle three Goan pork sausages into the country from India, stuff.co.nz reported. Deposing before the Wellington District Court, 59-year-old Maria Benevita Suvira Lobo pleaded guilty to attempting to possess unauthorised goods and making a false declaration.

Lobo said her brother had given her the meat while she was visiting Mumbai. She had packaged the 1.3 kg meat and printed labels on it that said “mixed vege pickle”, “pickled meat vege” and “stuffed carrot pickle”. Incredibly, when an inspector at the Auckland Airport had asked why she had done it, she replied, “I wanted to see whether you would catch me. I was trying to smuggle the sausages in because we don’t get this kind of sausage in New Zealand.”

The government department responsible for protecting the border wanted the woman to pay at least NZ$20,000 (Rs 94,776) in fine. “An outbreak of foot and mouth disease [which he said was endemic to India] would cripple New Zealand’s farming industry and economy. The cost is measured in billions of dollars and would send the economy into recession,” the prosecutor at the Ministry for Primary Industries in New Zealand, Vatau Sagaga, submitted in court.

The judge backed Sagaga’s view, saying that New Zealand had never had a foot and mouth outbreak, and pork was the biggest risk of all. But he decided that Lobo would not be able to pay the fine and sentenced her to community service instead.