Food, plant material and animal products from overseas could introduce some of the world's most serious pests and diseases into Australia, devastating our valuable agriculture and tourism industries and unique environment.
Declare or beware!
You must declare for inspection all food, plant material and animal products on arrival in Australia to ensure they are free of pests and diseases.
Some products may require treatment to make them safe. Other items that pose pest and disease risks will be seized and destroyed by AQIS. You can dispose of high-risk items in quarantine bins in the airport terminal.
If you're not sure, ask an AQIS officer.
The following is not a complete list of items that you must declare on arrival. In many cases, items you declare will be returned to you after inspection. Some may be allowed in if accompanied by an Import Permit (issued by AQIS prior to arrival), or with treatment in Australia to make them safe (fees and charges apply). Alternatively, you can drop them in quarantine bins at the airport.
Food commercially prepared, cooked and raw food and ingredients
- dried fruit and vegetables*
- instant noodles and rice*
- packaged meals*
- herbs and spices*
- herbal and traditional medicines, remedies, tonics and herbal teas*
- snack foods*
- biscuits, cakes and confectionery*
- black tea, coffee and other beverages
- infant formula (must be accompanying a child)
- airline food/snacks.
Dairy and egg products
- dairy products (fresh and powdered) including milk, cheese and ‘non-dairy' creamers
- cheese – must be commercially prepared and packaged and originate from countries free from foot and mouth disease
- airline food containing dairy including milk, yoghurt and sandwiches containing cheese
- all whole, dried and powdered eggs, and egg products that contain more than 10 per cent egg as an ingredient, such as mayonnaise
- homemade egg products including noodles and pasta that are not commercially manufactured.
- all uncanned meat including fresh, dried, frozen, cooked, smoked, salted or preserved - from all animal species
- sausages, salami and sliced meats
- airline food including sandwiches containing meat
- fish and other seafood products*
- pet food – including canned products and rawhide chews
- rawhide articles and handicrafts including drums.
Seeds and nuts
- cereal grains, popping corn, raw nuts, pine cones, birdseed, unidentified seeds, some commercially packaged seeds, and ornaments including seeds.
Fresh fruit or vegetables
- all fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables.
Live animals and animal products
- all mammals, birds, birds' eggs and nests, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects
- feathers, bones, horns, tusks, wool and animal hair
- skins, hides and furs
- stuffed animals and birds (taxidermy certificate required - some may be prohibited under endangered species laws)
- shells and coral (including jewellery and souvenirs)
- bee products including honey,* beeswax and honeycomb
- used animal equipment including veterinary equipment and medicines, shearing or meat trade tools, saddlery and tack and animal or bird cages.
- biological specimens including tissue culture*
- craft and hobby lines made from animal or plant material
- used sporting and camping equipment including tents, footwear, hiking boots, golf equipment and bicycles (need to be checked to ensure they are clean and free from soil contamination)
- used freshwater watercraft or fishing equipment including rods and nets, waders, kayaks, paddles and life jackets.
- all potted/bare rooted plants, cuttings, roots, bulbs, corms, stems and other viable plant material
- banana products including food (fresh and dried) and souvenirs made with banana plant material
- souvenirs made with or filled with straw, including Thai cushions
- wooden articles and carvings including painted or lacquered items
- items that include bark
- artefacts, handicrafts and souvenirs made from plant material
- mats, bags and other items made from plant material, palm fronds or leaves
- straw products and packaging*
- bamboo, cane or rattan basket ware and furnishings
- potpourri* and coconut shells
- Christmas decorations, wreaths and ornaments
- dried flowers and arrangements
- fresh flowers and leis.
*Special import conditions may apply - check import conditions on ICON
More detailed items can be found on the 'Frequently Asked Questions page'
Used freshwater watercraft, sporting or fishing equipment
There is a significant risk that the freshwater alga, Didymo could enter, establish and spread in Australia on used watercraft, sporting or fishing equipment.
If you are planning to bring fishing rods and nets, waders, kayaks, paddles, life jackets or any other recreational freshwater equipment into Australia, you should:
- make sure all equipment is thoroughly cleaned and dry - not wet or damp, and
- present all equipment (clean and unclean) to an AQIS officer for inspection when you arrive.
AQIS officers may send the equipment for treatment to make sure it is safe.
Before you land in Australia
You will be given an Incoming Passenger Card before you land in Australia. This is a legal document. You must tick YES to declare if you are carrying any food, plant material or animal products. If you have items you don't wish to declare, you can dispose of them in quarantine bins in the airport terminal.
On arrival your baggage may be X-Rayed, inspected or checked by a detector dog team. If you fail to declare or dispose of any quarantine items, or make a false declaration:
You may not be penalised if goods are declared.
- you will be caught
- you could receive an on-the-spot fine of up to $AUD220, or
- you could be prosecuted and face a fine of up to $AUD66,000 or 10 years imprisonment which may result in a criminal record.
An important note for domestic passengers travelling on international flights:
If you're carrying food or other items subject to quarantine, you must show the AQIS officer a receipt or other document proving that the product is of Australian origin. If you cannot show proof, your goods will be seized.
Please note that some states prohibit the entry of fresh fruit from other parts of Australia.
What happens to items I declare?
In many cases items you declare will be returned to you after inspection. However, anything that presents a disease risk or is found to contain insects or larvae will be withheld. Depending on the quarantine risk, you can:
- pay for the item to be treated to make it safe (for example fumigation, irradiation)*
- store the item at the airport for collection when you leave Australia*
- re-export the item* or
- have the item destroyed by AQIS.
Treatment may damage goods. AQIS makes every effort to minimise the risk of damage but does not accept liability for damage that may occur as a result of treatment.
*These options are subject to fees, and special conditions may apply.
Detector dogs are trained to detect food, plants, animals and their products in passengers' bags. If you see a detector dog working close to you, please place your bag on the floor. The dog will simply sit next to your bag if it finds something: an AQIS officer may ask you about what's in your bag, and check to make sure there's nothing that could present a quarantine risk to Australia.
Reporting quarantine and export breaches
Report suspected breaches of Australian quarantine, export or food inspection laws to the AQIS Redline (+61 800 803 006). It is a free telephone service that you can use to confidentially report someone you suspect of breaking Australian quarantine laws. You can also write confidentially to;
Compliance and Investigations Program
GPO Box 858
Canberra ACT 2601