A note from her daughter wasn't enough to persuade the Ministry for Primary Industries to allow a Mongolian air passenger to bring yak meat into New Zealand.
She arrived at Auckland Airport last week without being able to speak any English, however she carried a note from her daughter saying she was bringing food from home.
The food turned out to be yak meat wrapped in tinfoil. A search of her luggage revealed she also had homemade Mongolian cheese.
"She had carried the food all the way from Mongolia, but there was no way we could permit it to enter New Zealand," says Dave Sims, MPI Auckland Airport manager.
"The food could have been harbouring a number of devastating animal diseases.
"Mongolian livestock has been afflicted by foot-and-mouth disease. This is a disease we definitely don't want in New Zealand. It has the potential to wipe some $16 billion from the New Zealand economy."
However Mr Sims says MPI was pleased the woman declared the food before entering New Zealand.
"Her family knew enough about New Zealand's biosecurity rules to ensure she could alert us that she was carrying potential risk items.
"This shows that New Zealand's biosecurity message is spreading -- even to the outer reaches of Mongolia."