Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Australia & the Pacific (
-   -   Custom declaration on Food? (

Excite2 Jul 7th, 2005 07:14 PM

Custom declaration on Food?
I heard that I need to declare if I bring food into Australia? What about supplements like vitamins? What should I do?

Neil_Oz Jul 7th, 2005 07:32 PM

You should declare them, although I'd be surprised if you'd have a problem with vitamins. (You can of course buy them in Australia.)

Broadly, the items that you can't bring into the country are eggs and egg products, dairy products from anywhere except New Zealand, fresh fruit and vegetables, seeds and nuts, live animals and uncanned meat products.

For further info go to and follow the links.

KayF Jul 7th, 2005 09:52 PM

If you are unsure, always declare what you have. It's much better to have customs wave you on than find something later on, it could be embarrassing and there could be a fine. They have sniffer dogs and x-ray machines so can find things that people don't declare. I wouldn't class vtamins as food, but customs may. It might help to have them handy in case they want to see them, saves pulling everything out of your case in search of them.

Mucky Jul 8th, 2005 01:27 AM

In fairness we found customs in OZ very good. Helpful and informative and we had great fun talking to them about stuff people try to bring in.
Japanese bring fish foods in by the bagfull and it all gets confiscated. As we were going through the already 3/4 full fish bin was being topped up from the bags of Japanese tourists. lol

We were concerned about bringing chocolate in but the customs guy promised not to confiscate them providing we gave him a

enjoy and just use common sense.


pat_woolford Jul 8th, 2005 01:52 AM

Truly, its not a big deal. As other posters have suggested, declare anything you may be in doubt about either when entering or posting. I have a fetish for a certain type of Mexican dried chillie (I can never spell that word properly) which is not available in Australia but is in California at least, I've browbeaten many an American to send me some, gets through the post every time as long as the customs declaration is correct. Some kind American sent me some recently, seeds and all, I vainly tried to strike the seeds but the chillies had been roasted and the seeds weren't viable. Too sad.

Neil_Oz Jul 8th, 2005 01:35 PM

I've always followed the "if in doubt, declare it" rule - well, maybe not those cheap DVDs, but they didn't pose a threat to Australia's primary industries, and that's what this is all about. The only food I've had to surrender (with few pangs of regret) were moon cakes we'd been given in China - they contained egg. I was allowed to keep the box, though. Chinese tea, Vietnamese coffee, Louisiana pralines, Caribbean hot sauce, no problem.

If I may be permitted a small note of national pride - after travelling overseas and dealing with a succession of grim-faced, mostly humourless officials (NZ excepted) it's always a pleasure to encounter the mostly good-humoured and relaxed (but vigilant) Australian customs and immigration officers on one's return. Admittedly I did once get a smile out of the immigration guy at Hanoi, but it was hard work.

crazymina Jul 8th, 2005 02:54 PM

I declare everything. I don't mess with customs. In Australia, I stood in the longer line because I needed to declare some chocolate. She lady at the front of the line said "you stood in line just for that?" I told her I didn't want to take chances. She said that was probably a wise idea as they can catch a lot via x-ray and could fine you (as another poster stated).

I just note that everything is sealed on the customs form. Sealed confectionary, sealed condiments etc. Although the sealed condiments one is usually for coming back to the U.S...with vegemite!

I leave tonight for Australia...I think the customs officer is going to wonder what the heck I'm doing...I have so much chocolate that my boyfriend's family requested. Yes, I know that chocolate in Oz is better. But this is special Korean candy. :)

inthechips2 Nov 9th, 2005 01:14 PM

Have to bring this thread back up to ask this - taking a dual voltage coffee maker because I cannot live without it in the a.m. and know I won't have to search high and low. Can I take in some ground coffee that I ground myself and put in a ziplock bag? Or better to bring it in a sealed bag from the grocery store or Starbucks? It is on the "okay" list but doesn't say if the bag needs to be vacuum sealed or anything. Thanks

Neil_Oz Nov 9th, 2005 02:44 PM

I brought coffee back from Vietnam which the merchant ground on the spot and packed in a plastic bag, and had no problems wth Customs. I'm not sure how you'd go with a home-packed ziplock bag - if you want to be on the safe side you could buy a vacuum-pack bag of ground coffee.

If you run out, don't worry - you won't have to search high and low to buy coffee in Australia. And you will NOT need to seek out a Starbucks to buy a coffee - espresso machines are ubiquitous here.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:46 PM.