Taking food INTO Oz

Nov 23rd, 2005, 10:36 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
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Taking food INTO Oz

Weare flying to Australia this weekend and are visiting friends who LOVE Scottish shortbread biscuits. Are you allowed to take biscuits into Australia? I understand that immigration is very tight there.

Joanne34 is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2005, 11:09 AM
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You'd probably get away with biscuits. What they are really looking for is unprocessed, or partly processed food,, such as Salami, dried fish etc.

Also plant products like seeds, or wood products which might contain boring insects.

THe safest idea is not to bring anything which you aren't prepared to lose, and declare it on your customs form. THe worst that can happen it they might confiscate it. If you try to smuggle it in you can be hit with a fine, and you may be thrown in jail. Not a good way to start your holiday.

Most aussie customs officers are (fairly) helpful, but if you try to bluff them they can put you through the mincer, better not to try.
vbca is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2005, 12:08 PM
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"...or wood products which might contain boring insects"

Spot on, vbca. We like to think of our native insects as interesting characters. The last thing we want is to introduce boring bugs that might ruin their parties. On the other hand we've deliberately imported several species of dung beetle - and who'd want to talk shop with one of them?

Seriously, your advice sounds good to me. The official quarantine service website is www.aqis.gov.au, which (under "Quick links - What can't I bring into Australia?") has prohibitions on certain dairy and egg products, but I suspect that commercially produced shortbread might be OK. A lot of breads and biscuits are imported commercially.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2005, 12:20 PM
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There won't be a problem, just declare any food to customs. I often receive sealed containers of biscuits (including delicious Hawaiian macadamia shortbread) from both US and Japan, both by visitors and mail.
pat_woolford is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2005, 12:35 PM
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I took some biscuits from Harrods in which I declared. They looked at me strangely and then waved me through.
luckykat is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2005, 06:28 PM
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Nice one Neil The last thing OZ needs are party pooping insects.

Don't get me started on Dung Beetles!! I've been a strong advocate for importing them into NZ. With 60 million sheep, and God knows how many cows, deer, rabbits, possums, wallabies, ostriches, you name it, all crapping over our clean green image, a few dung beetles may be just what we need.

Take care,

vbca is offline  
Nov 24th, 2005, 05:29 AM
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Last June I took maple syrup and maple sugar candy into Australia without a problem. I had it in my carry-on and was ready to show them exactly what it was.
Barbara_in_CT is offline  
Nov 24th, 2005, 12:36 PM
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Barry, from memory many species of dung beetles were road-tested by CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific & Research Organisation) before their introduction - even a hefty African model who was needed to deal with water buffalo droppings in the Northern Territory. The little buggers have been doing a good job and I don't think there have been any negative side-effects, but I read the other day that the Indian mynah birds are now eating them. The mynah is yet another imported bad pest. Have they turned up in NZ?

(A Sydney Morning Herald reader argued though that "Being attacked by an Indian mynah would not worry a dung beetle. After all, its whole life's function is to carry on underturd.")

The possum situation in NZ is grim, isn't it? Just shows what can happen when you give an imported beast unlimited food and no natural predators. In the old days they'd have tried to fix the problem by importing something that would eat possums (anacondas?) but hopefully we've learned a bit since then. Good luck with the dung beetle campaign.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Nov 24th, 2005, 06:26 PM
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Hi Neil,

I'm pretty sure the Mynahs are in the North Island, but I don't know if they were blown across, of imported. Could well have flown over. We have Rosellas which are self introduced, and they aren't noted for being strong flyers.

Possums are a real problem. I'm not sure if they have considered introducing Anaconda's, but a few years ago someone proposed importing Mountain Lions. I think (I hope) it was just tounge in cheek.

At the 'Road Kill Cafe" on the West Coast they serve Possum Pies, Possum Kebabs, and Kentuky Fried Possum. They've struck a gold mine, all the ingredients can be collected in a 30 minute drive up the road early morning, before too many cars have squished them out of shape, and they sell the skins as a by product.

How the hell did we get from shortbread cookies to this??

vbca is offline  
Nov 24th, 2005, 09:19 PM
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This is a long way from shortbread too, but up here in Far North Queensland we have a lot of coconut trees growing in public areas. They're hated by some greenie groups as they're not native to Australia (to me if a nut floats across miles of ocean and establishes itself successfully on our shores it may as well be native). Councils are not keen on removing them as they feel they add to a tropical look. But coconuts are heavy and can and do fall from great heights causing injury and even death, not to mention the wreaking of havoc on roofs of cars and caravans. So at great expense to local councils they are de-nutted regularly. This usually involves a cherry picker and a couple of council employees in hard hats, although there is a commercial mob called "Nutbusters".

So a local councillor came up with the bright solution that we import monkeys trained to pick the nuts. This was greeted with about as much enthusiasm as the introduction of the cane toad and councillor was never re-elected.
pat_woolford is offline  
Nov 25th, 2005, 11:02 AM
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Good to see that sanity sometimes prevails.

Actually I thought Coconuts were indiginous right across the Pacific. We don't get them in NZ, because it's a bit cold, but I certainly thought FNQ was a likely place for them to come ashore.

Perhaps you could import some of the Bali nutpickers; They just shinny up the tree, hack a few nuts, and shinny down in just a couple of minutes. No safety harness, ropes or anything, OSH would have a fit.

vbca is offline  
Nov 25th, 2005, 11:38 AM
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Just don't take the leftover sandwich and fruit from your lunch tray! Airlines warn you not to do this, but some arrogant woman ignored them when landing in Sydney and stuffed it all in her purse. The sniffer Beagle was on her in 5 minutes and they threatened to arrest her.
oliverandharry is offline  
Nov 26th, 2005, 10:50 PM
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Hi Barry, there is debate as to whether the coconut existed in Australia before European arrival as early explorers often noted the apparent absence from northern Australian shores.

However, the Lockhart River (NE Qld) Aboriginal people who still retain much of their traditional culture feature the coconut in ceremonies, which suggests it has been around for much longer than European arrival. Another theory is that because Aboriginal people were very fond of the heart of palm, a delicacy found only in the stems of very young trees, the trees were chopped down before they could mature.

Today they're widespread from Ingham north, and into eastern Gulf of Carpentaria; there was/is a fruiting coconut as far south as Noosaville on Sunshine Coast, but that was a one-off, must have found its own little micro-climate.
pat_woolford is offline  
Dec 1st, 2005, 05:43 AM
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As long as the bikkies are sealed you'll be fine. Just be sure to declare them.
AustraliaZooIsGreat is offline  
Dec 1st, 2005, 05:50 AM
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I went there 2 years ago and had a Cliff Bar (a kind of meal replacement/protein bar) that is store bought and they saw it on the scan and took it from me. They gave me kind of a hard time too. This was my experience but maybe they were just having a bad day or something.
24Lisa is offline  
Dec 1st, 2005, 05:59 AM
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Yeah i've heard of strange things being confiscated. I think, more than anything, it depends on where you bought it. They had no problem with me bringing a suitcase full of guinness and cadbury chocolate from Ireland.
AustraliaZooIsGreat is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2005, 02:19 AM
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The point is: declare them.
Sarvowinner is offline  
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