Australian Embassy

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Risks in luggage and mail threaten Australian farming

Exotic pests, diseases and weeds can enter Australia via items packed in luggage or sent to friends and family. If they establish in Australia, they can wipe out entire food crops, harm Australia’s animals and damage Australia’s natural environment. 

The Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture screens, inspects and clears the millions of people, mail parcels, baggage, ships, animals, plants and cargo containers that enter Australia every year using x–ray machines, physical inspections and detector dogs.

African swine fever (ASF) and Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) virus fragments have been detected in meat confiscated at airports by biosecurity officers. Australia remains free of both ASF and FMD. 

African swine fever (ASF) is a serious animal disease that has already wiped out more than a quarter of the world’s pig population. ASF is a highly infectious disease that could have a serious impact on Australia’s pig industry.  ASF is present in Vietnam. You can help stop the spread of ASF by not packing or sending pork products to Australia. Australia has banned all personal imports of high risk pork products including sausage, salami, ham, bacon and other smallgoods. Get the facts on ASF by heading to

Passengers arriving in Australia are required by law to complete an Incoming Passenger Card. On this card, passengers must honestly declare if they are carrying any meat or animal products, or other items that present a biosecurity risk. In addition to the confiscation of biosecurity risk items upon arrival, passengers who do not declare items may be fined, have their visas cancelled, or face prosecution.

Anyone sending items to family or friends living in Australia should not send meat products through the mail. It is important that overseas senders of mail accurately state the contents of articles on the international mail article declaration form. 

Australian biosecurity officers seize large numbers of biosecurity risk items from air passengers and international mail articles. Examples of non-compliance from Vietnam include: 

  • A passenger who did not declare almost 4kg of pork in mooncakes.
  • A passenger who did not declare 4.6kg of uncooked pork, 470 g of eggs, 1.3kg of cooked quail, 1kg of pate.
  • A passenger who declared traditional medicines, but was also found to have four kilograms of undeclared fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • A passenger who did not declare 24kg of non-commercially processed honey, as well as mangoes, fish and pork.
  • A passenger who attempted to bring in live fighting fish, snails and shrimp.
  • A passenger who declared the import of dried meat, but also had ants and an insect infested wooden item.

The Australian Embassy reminds individuals travelling to Australia or sending items to Australia to comply with Australia’s strict biosecurity laws. By doing so, you can help to protect Australia’s agricultural industries and its natural environment from the spread of exotic pests, diseases and weeds.

For more information on items that should not be brought or sent to Australia, visit