Be biosecurity aware this Valentine's Day

12 February 2013

If you don’t want to break a heart this Valentine’s Day – make sure your gifts of love purchased overseas aren’t stopped at the border because they fail Australia’s strict biosecurity requirements.

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) has warned romantics that presents like flowers, plants and soft toys that may have sand or rice in them could carry biosecurity risks, while fresh fruit, meat and animal products might carry pests and diseases that threaten Australian agricultural industries, environment or  community health.

Tim Chapman, First Assistant Secretary Border Compliance said Valentine’s Day shoppers should be aware of biosecurity rules before purchasing gifts from overseas for their special someone.

”If you’re expecting gifts from overseas or buying them online be aware of what can be brought into Australia. Although gifts can be purchased online it is the buyer’s responsibility to ensure they comply with Australia’s biosecurity laws,” Tim Chapman said.

Mr Chapman said DAFF staff at the international mail centres will be keeping a look out for Valentine’s Day gifts that could pose a biosecurity risk.

“All items ordered online from overseas are subject to stringent checks to assess biosecurity risks. They may be subject to x-ray, detector dogs or inspection by a DAFF officer.

“Failing to declare or falsely declaring risk items can result in a fine or possible prosecution.

Mr Chapman said everyone has a role to play in helping to keep the country free from pests and diseases.

“Australia enjoys an enviable pest and disease-free status with significant benefits for the economy, environment and community. Together we can keep it that way,” Mr Chapman said.

For more information on what can and cannot be mailed or brought to Australia, visit the website or call 1800 020 504 (free call in Australia).