The Pinoy Migrant or Traveler’s Guide for Bringing Food to Australia

Last week, Australian Biosecurity’s Facebook page featured an entry on the contents of a Filipino traveler’s luggage. I’m not quite sure if the said traveler declared them, but dog-on-duty Tyla apparently sniffed them out.

 

Lo and behold, biosecurity officers found a bag of peanuts, green mangoes, fish stuffed with pork meat (embutido?? Hmm..), and what they referred to as “unidentified fruit.” Yet, what made the find “eggs-tremely” risky was, wait for it, some pieces of balut concealed within. 

 
Yet, what made the find “eggs-tremely” risky was, wait for it, some pieces of balut concealed within

Image Credit: philstar.com

 

Now, to us Filipinos, such a haul is hardly worth mentioning. Delicacies like balut, peanuts, and green mangoes are typical pasalubongs for relatives living abroad. So, what’s the big deal?

 

The thing is, Australia is very protective of their environment, not to mention their agricultural industries. Bringing in plant or food material from overseas could introduce serious pests or diseases into the country, potentially devastating or disrupting the ecosystem.

 

Eggs, for instance, are potential avian influenza carriers, among other things. Meat products, on the other hand, can transmit foot and mouth disease or African swine fever. Yikes.

 

Granted, you can still bring food Down Under, but it’s better to check which ones would actually pass muster: 

   
    Biscuits, bread, cakes, pastries, Christmas cake, and Christmas pudding (excluding cheesecakes)

  1. Biscuits, bread, cakes, pastries, Christmas cake, and Christmas pudding (excluding cheesecakes).
    • Solely for personal consumption;

    • Fully-cooked and shelf-stable (not requiring refrigeration);

    • Meat-free;

    • Preferably topping or filling-free, otherwise, these must be baked into the cake.

      Cheese, butter, and other dairy products (excluding infant formula)

  2. Cheese, butter, and other dairy products (excluding infant formula).
    • Commercially prepared and packaged;

    • For human consumption only;

    • Must be sourced from an FMD-free country;

    • Up to 10 kg or 10 liters per traveler;

      Chocolate and confectionary

  3. Chocolate and confectionary.
    • Pertains to fudge, toffees, boiled sweets, peppermints, marshmallows, and licorice;

    • Up to 10 kg per traveler;

    • Commercially prepared and packaged.

      Coffee

  4. Coffee.
    • Must be in clean and new packaging;

    • Should be free of live insects and other such contaminants;

    • Up to 10 kg per traveler for roasted, ground or instant coffee, up to 10 kg for roasted coffee beans,up to 5 kg for green coffee beans;

    • You can bring in up to 1 kg of

      kopi luwak

      (civet coffee) if the beans have been roasted and commercially prepared/packaged.

      Fish (excluding salmon or trout)

  5. Fish (excluding salmon or trout).
    • Canned, smoked, or dried fish products (e.g.,

      daing

      ) should be shelf-stable, with their gills and guts removed as well;

    • Up to 5 kg of fresh non-salmonid fish products should be eviscerated and accompanied by the person importing it;

    • For human consumption only.

      Fish (including salmon or trout)

  6. Fish (including salmon or trout).
    • You may bring in canned or jarred salmonid fish products so long as they are sterile and self-stable;

    • For fresh salmonid products, refer to this list for further details.

      Honey products

  7. Honey products.
    • Must be free of contamination;

    • Subject to inspection upon arrival.

      Individual beverage sachets (3-in1, etc)

  8. Individual beverage sachets (3-in1, etc).
    • Commercially manufactured and packaged;

    • Shelf-stable;

    • For instant use;

    • Unopened;

    • Up to 10 kg.

      Infant formula

  9. Infant formula.
    • Commercially prepared and packaged, with the country of origin on the packaging;

    • Up to 10 kg if the formula is from an FMD-free country;

    • Otherwise, up to 10 kg or 10 liters if brought alongside an infant, up to 5 kg or 5 liters if unaccompanied by an infant, and up to 1 kg or 1 liter for goods dispatched via international mail.

      Juices and soft drinks

  10. Juices and soft drinks.
    • Commercially prepared and packaged;

    • Hermetically sealed (e.g., in metal cans, glass jars with “twist-off” lids or caps, or aseptic cartons).

      Meat items

  11. Meat items.
    • Canned meat products (SPAM!!!!) must be commercially prepared and packaged;

    • Meat floss should be the same, as well as being finely-shredded, with no identifiable meat pieces;

    • Refer to this list for guidelines on uncanned meat products.

      Instant Noodles

  12. Instant Noodles 
    • For instant use (e.g., in small sizes, fried or heat-sealed);

    • Contain no discernible pieces of egg or meat;

    • Shelf-stable;

    • Solely for personal consumption.

    • May contain flavoring sachets, so long as these do not have discernible pieces of egg or meat.

      Nuts

  13. Nuts.
    • Should be blanched, fried, roasted, or boiled;

    • Must be shelled and vacuum-sealed;

    • If raw, these should be shelled and should weigh less than 2 kg.

      Oil

  14. Oil.
    • Must be clean and free of contaminants (e.g., seeds, dirt, or animal/plant debris);

    • Pertains to vegetable and seed varieties.

      Prawns and Shrimp

  15. Prawns and Shrimp.
    • Should be cooked thoroughly, and with a health certificate stating that the process occurred under a competent authority of the exporting country;

    • Dried prawns and shrimp must be free of live insects, soil, and other contaminants.

      Preserved fruit and vegetables (including jam, chutney, and pickles)

  16. Preserved fruit and vegetables (including jam, chutney, and pickles).
    • Preserved or pickled via an acceptable method (e.g., in salt brine, alcohol, sugar syrup, or vinegar, cured in salt or sugar, crystallized in syrup, canned or bottled in salt/sugar/vinegar/salt/brine/alcohol/oil, boiled into a jelly);

    • Canned/commercially sterilized;

    • Shelf-stable for at least six (6) months.

      Rice

  17. Rice.
    • White rice only (including basmati, arborio, calrose, and jasmine varieties);

    • Free of contaminants like viable grain, seeds, live insects, soil, and other biosecurity risks.

      Sauces

  18. Sauces.
    • Commercially cooked and packaged;

    • Shelf-stable for at least six (6) months;

    • Enclosed in hermetically-sealed containers like metal cans, glass jars, or aseptic cartons and pouches.

      Seafood (excluding prawns and shrimp)

  19. Seafood (excluding prawns and shrimp).
    • Dead, clean, and free of contaminants like plant materials, snails, etc.;

    • Subject to inspection upon arrival.

      Spices

  20. Spices.
    • Pertains to dried/ground spices or spice mixes;

    • Must be made of dried or ground plant material and free of animal, microbial, or fungal contaminants;

      Tea and dried herbs

  21. Tea and dried herbs.
    • Clean and in new, unopened packaging;

    • Contains only ingredients of plant origin;

    • Thoroughly dried;

    • Less than 1 kg per blend.

     
 

Lastly, do note that you have to declare any food items you’ve brought when you arrive, particularly if they fall under the categories above. You’ll also have to take these goods to a biosecurity officer for inspection and assessment before you go on your merry way.

 

You could try to sneak them in, but be warned that you might not get past the inspection doggos. Arf.

 
Serena Estrella

Serena joined Remit back in 2016, and has tormented its Marketing Head constantly ever since. To get through the rigors of writing about grave concerns like exchange rates, citizenship requirements, and PH-AU news, she likes to blast Mozart, Vivaldi, ONE OK ROCK, and Shigeru Umebayashi in the background. She does a mean Merida voice in her spare time too.

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