What can't be mailed to Australia?

​​​​​The Department of Agriculture is responsible for managing Australia’s biosecurity system.

Every year we assist millions of people, goods, vessels and aircraft move in and out of Australia without harming our environment, animal, plant and human health.

It’s a big job. We work closely with other governments, industry and the community to manage biosecurity risks offshore, onshore and at the border.

Our strong biosecurity system helps to protect our unique environment and agricultural sector and supports our reputation as a safe and reliable trading nation. This has significant economic, environmental and community benefits for all Australians.

Biosecurity and international mail

Department of Agriculture officers assess all incoming international mail and may screen mail using x-ray, detector dogs or manual inspection, to ensure mail does not contain items that could harm Australia’s agricultural industries and environment.

What will the Department of Agriculture remove from international mail items?

The following information is a basic guide to goods you should not mail to Australia.

Any items that contain insects or larvae will be seized and must be treated at the recipient’s expense or destroyed.

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Meat and meat products

Graphic of meat products
  • all uncanned meat—including fresh, dried, frozen, cooked, smoked, salted or preserved meat
  • packaged meals (including noodles) containing meat 
  • mooncakes containing meat 
  • remedies and medicines containing animal material 
  • pet food including canned and dried food and supplements.

Seeds and nuts

Graphic: Seeds and nuts.
  • seeds including vegetable and flower seeds, unidentified seeds, birdseed and some commercially-packaged seeds*
  • gifts, ornaments and toys filled with seeds
  • pine cones
  • raw nuts
  • grains and legumes including lentils, popping corn and cereal grains
  • raw/green coffee beans.

Plants and soil

Graphic of plants and soil
  • all plant material including bulbs, whole plants, cuttings, roots, flowers and stems
  • soil, including small souvenir or sentimental samples
  • footwear, sporting and camping equipment contaminated with soil, manure or plant material
  • gifts, ornaments and toys filled with straw, plant matter, sand or soil.



Fruit and vegetables

Graphic of fruit and vegetables
  • fresh fruit and vegetables
  • dried fruit and vegetables containing seeds or fruit peel.



Dairy, eggs and egg products

Graphic of dairy products
  • cheese, milk, butter and other dairy products*
  • packaged meals and other foods containing more than 10 per cent dairy, or 10% or more egg (whole, dried and powdered, such as cake mix, salad dressing, mayonnaise)  
  • mooncakes containing egg.



Plant material

Graphic of plant material
  • tea containing seeds, fruit skin (for example citrus and apple peel) and fruit pieces
  • remedies and medicines containing herbs, seeds, bark, fungi and dried plant material*
  • dried flower arrangements and potpourri
  • dried herbs or leaves
  • handicrafts—including wreaths and Christmas decorations—containing seeds, raw nuts, corn, pine cones, grapevines, bark, moss, straw or other plant material
  • wooden items with bark or signs of insects present.

Live animals, animal products

Graphic of live animals & animal products
  • all mammals, birds, birds' eggs and nests, fish, snakes, turtles, lizards, scorpions, amphibians, crustaceans and insects
  • souvenirs, artefacts and goods made of animal products such as raw hide, feathers, teeth, bones, wool and animal hair.



Laboratory material

  • medical and animal samples
  • diagnostic kits and micro-organisms*.
* Special conditions apply-check import conditions on ICON.

Seized items and treatments

Many items posted or brought into Australia can harbour pests and diseases, which could seriously threaten Australia’s agricultural and horticultural industries along with our unique flora and fauna.

When items are withheld for biosecurity reasons the person receiving the item will be notified and given a range of options depending on the object and the risk it poses:

  • treating the item to make it safe
  • exporting the item or returning it to the sender, or
  • destroying the item

These services, except for destroying the item, are subject to fees and charges, which are payable by the person receiving the package.

Examples of treatments include:

  • Cleaning – to remove soil from shoes
  • Fumigation – to kill insects
  • Heat treatment – to destroy disease pathogens
  • Gamma-irradiation – to destroy all living pests and disease organisms that might be present.

For further detailed assessment on individual items,
please refer to the Import Conditions Database (ICON)

More information

Last reviewed:
06 May 2015