Taking food into Australia

Old Feb 2, 15, 1:54 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: UK
Posts: 11
Taking food into Australia

I know that the Australians have very strict rules on biosecurity and I have heard tales of perfectly harmless sealed boxes of chocolates being binned by customs. Presumably they have a good feast at the end of each shift.

However, I have been diagnosed with coeliac disease and have to eat gluten-free foods. I know that it is perfectly possible to buy them when I get there, and I would not attempt to take enough for the month. But it would be helpful to have a few things to start me off when I get there. I think I'm allowed sealed packets of clearly labelled gluten-free foods. I wondered if anyone had ever tried to take some in, and, if so, what had happened. I'm very reluctant to take them if they're just going to be thrown out, because they're not cheap! I shall be arriving at Melbourne.

Thanks, in advance, for any help.
Lottie1001 is offline  
Old Feb 2, 15, 2:35 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Programs: AA
Posts: 371
I've had no issues taking in sealed, commercially packaged foods like biscuits, energy bars, crackers, and trail mix. Just make sure to declare them, and be specific (quantity and type) when they ask you what you are declaring. I make sure to use the word "pre-packaged" when describing them, and haven't gotten so much as a second look.
backprop is offline  
Old Feb 2, 15, 5:00 pm
  #3  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: RSE
Programs: AA Exp|VA Platinum
Posts: 13,276
Originally Posted by Lottie1001 View Post
I know that the Australians have very strict rules on biosecurity and I have heard tales of perfectly harmless sealed boxes of chocolates being binned by customs. Presumably they have a good feast at the end of each shift.

However, I have been diagnosed with coeliac disease and have to eat gluten-free foods. I know that it is perfectly possible to buy them when I get there, and I would not attempt to take enough for the month. But it would be helpful to have a few things to start me off when I get there. I think I'm allowed sealed packets of clearly labelled gluten-free foods. I wondered if anyone had ever tried to take some in, and, if so, what had happened. I'm very reluctant to take them if they're just going to be thrown out, because they're not cheap! I shall be arriving at Melbourne.

Thanks, in advance, for any help.
The old incoming passenger card used to require you to tick yes for "any food". The updated one is much more specific and shouldn't even require you to declare what you're carrying.

Link to new one here. Questions 6 and 7.
bensyd is online now  
Old Feb 2, 15, 5:06 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: MEL
Programs: VAG
Posts: 1,865
I've never heard of chocolates being binned.

Rule of thumb: if it can sit on your shelf at room temperature for a month without going bad, and it wouldn't grow if you planted it in soil, it's probably fine.
Jorgen is offline  
Old Feb 2, 15, 5:19 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 181
Your snacks will be fine. It's meat/fruit/veg/seeds/nuts etc that are the issue but even then I had no problems bringing in commercially packaged smoked salmon from Canada.
kcupp95 is offline  
Old Feb 2, 15, 5:24 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: LHR
Programs: Accor PLT,Thai Silver, HH Dia, SPG PLT (LT Gold), TK Gold, M&M S, BA Silver, Hyatt Dia
Posts: 4,724
Years ago I had to argue like anything to get baby formula into the country. Eventually succeeded but oh what a pain.
ExpatSomchai is offline  
Old Feb 2, 15, 7:21 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Programs: NZ*S
Posts: 773
Originally Posted by kcupp95 View Post
Your snacks will be fine. It's meat/fruit/veg/seeds/nuts etc that are the issue but even then I had no problems bringing in commercially packaged smoked salmon from Canada.
As above. I currently have a 17kg box of treats that flew into Australia with me a couple of days ago sitting 10 feet away that I need to go drop off to some Kiwi friends.

As it contained no meats, unprocessed grains or fruit etc. I didn't have to tick any of the boxes on the declaration. While in the queue for customs/Ag check I was asked if I had any food so I told the agent I did, and was asked what it was, so I told the agent it was mostly confectionery, soft drinks and processed foods, and specifically said there was no grains, fruit/veges or meat, and I was directed straight out the exit, no x-ray or inspection required.

Just be honest and so long as you don't bring anything that can harbour insect life or animal/plant diseases you will be fine.

The Australians take their agricultural protection seriously, and won't hesitate to hand out large fines if you fail to declare and they catch you.
SpannerSpinner is offline  
Old Feb 3, 15, 9:10 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Programs: AA
Posts: 371
Originally Posted by bensyd View Post
The old incoming passenger card used to require you to tick yes for "any food". The updated one is much more specific and shouldn't even require you to declare what you're carrying.

Link to new one here. Questions 6 and 7.
Good point. I usually have trail mix full of nuts, so I tick that box to appear as scrupulous as possible
backprop is offline  
Old Feb 3, 15, 1:25 pm
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: UK
Posts: 11
Thanks for your help, everybody. Especially for the link to the passenger card.

Does anybody know anything further about the correct answer for question 1? I will have my own prescription medication for the month, plus a few over the counter products (pain-killers, anti-histamine, travel sickness tablets) and I am also bringing my daughter's anti-malarial tablets for the next leg of her journey.

Also, probably a silly question, but I'm far from being an experienced traveller, am I likely to have any problems with wooden and leather hair slides?
Lottie1001 is offline  
Old Feb 3, 15, 5:33 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Programs: NZ*S
Posts: 773
As it says at the top of the form, if unsure tick yes. They will ask what they are and send you on your way with no drama, unless you try to bring medicinal maurijuana in.

Its always better to declare and waste a few minutes explaining, than not declare and spend an hour explaining and paying fines.
SpannerSpinner is offline  
Old Feb 3, 15, 5:50 pm
  #11  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: MEL CHC
Posts: 17,058
Originally Posted by SpannerSpinner View Post
Its always better to declare and waste a few minutes explaining, than not declare and spend an hour explaining and paying fines.
At times the declare line is faster/shorter than the not to declare line.
Mwenenzi is offline  
Old Feb 3, 15, 6:36 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Programs: QFF Gold, Flying Blue, Enrich
Posts: 5,352
Originally Posted by Lottie1001 View Post
I know that the Australians have very strict rules on biosecurity and I have heard tales of perfectly harmless sealed boxes of chocolates being binned by customs. Presumably they have a good feast at the end of each shift.
They would be just that: tales. I once brought in a bag of cashews that I bought in Phuket. I declared them, they asked me if they were raw or cooked, and as they were cooked they let me keep them.


However, I have been diagnosed with coeliac disease and have to eat gluten-free foods. I know that it is perfectly possible to buy them when I get there, and I would not attempt to take enough for the month. But it would be helpful to have a few things to start me off when I get there. I think I'm allowed sealed packets of clearly labelled gluten-free foods. I wondered if anyone had ever tried to take some in, and, if so, what had happened. I'm very reluctant to take them if they're just going to be thrown out, because they're not cheap! I shall be arriving at Melbourne.

Thanks, in advance, for any help.
Just declare them, 99% chance you'll be able to keep them, if not then there's no penalty, they'll just take them from you. It's if you don't declare and they don't like what you have when you'll get into trouble.

I'd say you'll be perfectly alright.

OT, but Australia is extremely gluten-free friendly, there always seems to be lots of gf choices on menus, so many products in supermarkets are clearly labelled, you won't have any trouble here.
BadgerBoi is offline  
Old Feb 4, 15, 9:01 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 1,857
Originally Posted by BadgerBoi View Post
They would be just that: tales. I once brought in a bag of cashews that I bought in Phuket. I declared them, they asked me if they were raw or cooked, and as they were cooked they let me keep them.




Just declare them, 99% chance you'll be able to keep them, if not then there's no penalty, they'll just take them from you. It's if you don't declare and they don't like what you have when you'll get into trouble.

I'd say you'll be perfectly alright.

OT, but Australia is extremely gluten-free friendly, there always seems to be lots of gf choices on menus, so many products in supermarkets are clearly labelled, you won't have any trouble here.
Depends on the content of the chocolate filling. There are some fillings which fall into the uncooked category which leads to an immediate binning or if you reply you don't know, in which case it usually leads to the bin. Generally cooked is fine, uncooked is problematic.
Nugget_Oz is offline  
Old Feb 4, 15, 1:13 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Programs: QFF Gold, Flying Blue, Enrich
Posts: 5,352
Originally Posted by Nugget_Oz View Post
Depends on the content of the chocolate filling. There are some fillings which fall into the uncooked category which leads to an immediate binning or if you reply you don't know, in which case it usually leads to the bin. Generally cooked is fine, uncooked is problematic.
Never been asked that, nor heard of anyone asked. Whenever in the past I declared chocolates I've been sent straight through.
BadgerBoi is offline  
Old Feb 4, 15, 2:55 pm
  #15  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: RSE
Programs: AA Exp|VA Platinum
Posts: 13,276
Originally Posted by Nugget_Oz View Post
Depends on the content of the chocolate filling. There are some fillings which fall into the uncooked category which leads to an immediate binning or if you reply you don't know, in which case it usually leads to the bin. Generally cooked is fine, uncooked is problematic.
It really depends where you're coming from, imo. If you're coming from Europe, short of declaring unpasteurised cheese or having an "interesting" travel pattern, you get waved through. I travel to Central America every few months these days and they seem to take great interest in whether I have yellow fever or how much dirt is on my shoes. I usually get a free shoe cleaning.
bensyd is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: