Australian Customs: biscuits and chocolate are OK

To make sure I can bring some Belgian delights to my host, I enquired the rules for biscuits and chocolate. I mailed the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service on Sunday (European time) and less than a work day later I received an elaborate answer. What a service!

Thank you for your enquiry about bringing biscuits and chocolates into Australia as part of your personal luggage.

Cooked cakes, including cakes containing custard or dairy based fillings that have been cooked with the cake (excluding cheesecakes, mooncakes, dairy puddings, vanilla slices or Dulce de Leche), bread and shelf stable biscuits are allowed into Australia as part of your personal baggage from any country provided the items do not require refrigeration to maintain quality. Items that do not meet these import conditions must be re-exported from Australia or destroyed. Re-export of the items must be paid for by the importer.

Cakes decorated with material such as fresh flowers, leaves, fruits or raw nuts that were not cooked with the cake may need to have the flowers, leaves, fruits or nuts removed. Alternatively, cakes decorated with prohibited fresh flowers, leaves, fruits or raw nuts that were not cooked with the cake must be re-exported or destroyed. Re-export must be paid for by the importer.

To find the import conditions for bringing cheesecakes, dairy puddings or vanilla slices into Australia, you may consult AQIS’s Import Conditions database (ICON) at http://www.aqis.gov.au/icon. This database lists the Quarantine conditions under which various commodities may be brought into Australia. Using the ICON search facility, enter ‘Dairy’ into the ‘Commodity’ field, insert the country of manufacture in the ‘From country’ field and leave ‘All End Uses’ in the ‘For end-use’ field. Then, click “search” and the database will return the results. If an AQIS Import Permit is required, or if any other specific conditions apply, ICON will specify this.

The information available on ICON is the same information that AQIS’s clearing officers use when inspecting and clearing goods arriving into the country. I recommend that you refer to this database regularly to keep up to date with any import condition changes by AQIS.

Confectionery (excluding Indian milk-based desserts and sweets) is permitted into Australia providing the items are free of contaminants such as live insects. Confectionery includes toffees, chocolate, fudge, boiled sweets, peppermints, marshmallows, liquorice, etc. It does not include liquid dairy desserts, spreads or drinks.

Once passengers arrive in Australia, they are required to complete an Incoming Passenger Card (IPC). On the IPC, they must declare all items of food, animal or plant origin as well as any other articles that are covered on the card (e.g. medicines, wooden articles) – these items are only examples illustrating the types of items that must be declared under each category. All items of food, animal or plant origin must be declared on the IPC for the purpose of inspection by an Australian Quarantine Inspector.

After passengers have collected their luggage, they will be directed to a Quarantine Officer who will inspect any declared items and inspect and/or x-ray any remaining luggage before they depart the international arrivals area.

For further information on what goods can or cannot be brought into Australia, you may visit our website at http://www.daff.gov.au/aqis or our Import Conditions database (ICON) at http://www.aqis.gov.au/icon. This database lists the Quarantine conditions under which various commodities may be brought into Australia. Using the ICON search facility, enter the item into the ‘Commodity’ field, insert the country of manufacture or origin in the ‘From country’ field and leave ‘All End Uses’ in the ‘For end-use’ field. Then, click “search” and the database will return the results. If an AQIS Import Permit is required, or if any other specific conditions apply, ICON will specify this.

The information available on ICON is the same information that AQIS’s clearing officers use when inspecting and clearing goods arriving into the country. I recommend that you refer to this database regularly to keep up to date with any import condition changes by AQIS.

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6 Responses to Australian Customs: biscuits and chocolate are OK

  1. maylim says:

    can I bring grilled dried meat into Australia?

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  3. ffeathers says:

    Hallo TBJ

    I thoroughly approve of any attempt to get chocolate into Australia. Or, for that matter, to get chocolate into any country. :)

    The main point of this comment is to let you know that I’ve written a book, and the book refers to your blog post. The subject of the book is fairly technical: it’s about using a wiki for technical documentation. But there’s chocolate in there too. Your blog post fits in beautifully as a light-hearted reference in the chapter on importing and exporting content into the wiki. I’ve summarised the gist of the post (not quoted from it) and added the URL of the post in the references section of the book.

    The book is called Confluence, Tech Comm, Chocolate: A wiki as platform extraordinaire for technical communication. It will be published in February 2012. There’s news about it on my blog, and also at the publisher’s site: http://xmlpress.net/publications/chocolate/

    Cheers,
    Sarah Maddox
    Technical writer at Atlassian
    Blogger at ffeathers

    • TBJ says:

      Interesting. I’m curious how you linked my post about customs to a text about wikis…

      • ffeathers says:

        Ha ha, yes, I can imagine you’d be curious. The book is technical in nature, but it has bits and pieces about chocolate throughout. One of those is a sidebar about your post. It’s in a chapter about imports and exports, but in the context of importing documents into the wiki or exporting them from the wiki into another format. So, a tenuous connection but in character with the rest of the book. :)

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