Farmer, 53, busted importing thousands of bulbs of GARLIC from America is jailed for nearly a year
- Former chair of the Australian Garlic Industry Association imported 2200 bulbs
- Letetia Anne Ware was jailed for 11 months on Tuesday for importing the garlic
- Garlic potentially carrying Xylella fasidiosa – a bacteria that is a national threat
A woman who imported thousands of bulbs of garlic from America and Canada has been jailed for putting Australia’s biosecurity at risk.
Former chair of the Australian Garlic Industry Association and farmer Letetia Anne Ware was sentenced to 11-months for importing almost 2,200 garlic bulbs.
The 53-year-old imported several varieties of garlic with some potentially carrying Xylella fastidiosa, a bacterium rated the biggest threat to national plant biosecurity.
The 53-year-old (left) imported several varieties of garlic with some potentially carrying Xylella fastidiosa, a bacterium rated the biggest threat to national plant biosecurity
Ware made 21 separate garlic imports over an 18-month period, on one occasion instructing suppliers to falsely label the garlic as gardening supplies.
One shipment was intercepted and destroyed by officials in October 2015 and Ware was subsequently given a warning letter by officials.
She then criticised her suppliers for not mis-labelling the product as she’d asked.
Ware was aware of the processes surrounding biosecurity as she had held import permits for mushrooms but never one for garlic, Justice Gregory Geason said during sentencing on Tuesday in the Hobart Supreme Court.
‘(Your) conduct created risk to all agricultural activity,’ he said.
One shipment was intercepted and destroyed by officials in October 2015 and Ware was subsequently given a warning letter by officials (stock)
Ware last week pleaded guilty to 10 charges including aggravated illegal importation of plant material and resigned as chair of Australian Garlic Industry Association.
‘The board strongly condemns any behaviour that jeopardises biosecurity or the Australian agricultural industry,’ the association said in a statement.
Ware will be eligible for release after two months, provided she enters into a $2000 recognisance and be on good behaviour for three years.
Xylella fastidiosa, which originated in the Americas, blocks the ability of plants to take up water and has reportedly wiped out one million olive trees in Italy.