Traveling to a foreign country can be a daunting task, and deciding not only what you want to bring but also what you are allowed to bring can make that task even more complicated. If you’re coming to Australia for a short or long time, it’s important you know what you can and can’t bring with you when it comes to food and edible items.
Australia’s biosecurity is some of the strictest in the world. As one of few nations left on the planet to be free of some of the worst pests and diseases, Aussie officials work hard to maintain this status. The biosecurity measures used at Australia’s borders help to ensure that exotic pests and diseases cannot harm the agricultural system or native plants and animals.
Because rules and regulations are always changing, be sure to check directly with Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection before you travel. You will get accurate information that includes any changes to what is discussed here. Below are general guidelines, though, to keep in mind when packing for your trip.
Upon arriving in Australia, it’s important that you declare ALL food, plant material, and animal products. Declaring something does not necessarily mean it is not allowed or will be confiscated, but if you do not declare something that is discovered to be a biosecurity risk, you will face penalties. When in doubt, declare it!
Foods You Can Bring Into Australia
The good news is most commercially prepared and packaged foods are allowed into Australia. For example, you can bring roasted or green coffee beans into the country, as long as they are in clean, new packaging and free from contaminants. For the real brew junkies, if you want to bring your Civet (Kopi Luwak) coffee, just be sure it’s less than 1 kilo, the coffee is already roasted, and it’s commercially prepared and packaged.
Feel free to bring fully-cooked, shelf stable biscuits, bread, and other baked goods with you, as well as commercially prepared and packaged confectionery and candies. In general, if it’s fully cooked or dehydrated, does not contain fresh meat, and is commercially prepared and packaged, it should be allowed.
Fresh and dried fruits and veg are not allowed. Even if purchased or given to you on the airplane, you must leave these items on board. Meat and poultry, as well as any products, such as jerky, made from meat or contain meat, are also not allowed to enter the country. There are additional restrictions on seafood and fish, which vary by preparation and country of origin, so be sure to declare these items to avoid penalties.
Honey and items containing honey should be inspected and may be subject to additional restrictions.
If you would like to check for a specific food item, to be sure it’s acceptable, refer to this resource from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. They offer clear guidelines about all food items.
If you are bringing in any items of clothing or equipment that may contain soil or plant materials from somewhere else, you must declare these items. Most often this applies to camping and sporting equipment, hiking boots, and other outerwear. Customs officials will likely simply ask you to clean these items to remove any debris, but in cases of heavy contamination, you may have to pay for additional cleaning or decontamination.
It pays to think ahead so that entering Australia is an easy, carefree process, and paying attention to these biosecurity measures will help make your entrance go smoothly.