Be biosecurity aware this Chinese New Year

25 January 2019

(Issued by Department of Agriculture)

Chinese New Year is a busy time for travelling and gift-giving, but some items sent or brought to Australia during this period could pose a biosecurity risk and potentially carry pests and diseases.

This Chinese New Year is the Year of the Pig and will be celebrated on 5 February.

Acting Head of Biosecurity at the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Marion Healy, said items such as fruit, plants, meat, eggs and herbs used in traditional medicine could pose a risk and may not be permitted.

“While Chinese New Year gifts are brought or sent with good intentions, some can carry pests or diseases that could impact on our industries, environment, plant, animal and human health,” Ms Healy said.

“For instance, we regularly intercept pork products during this period and these could carry a range of risks, including African Swine Fever (ASF).

“ASF is a highly contagious viral disease of domestic and wild pigs that could impact on our pig health and production, market access and economy if it arrived here.

“Each year we intercept a range of Chinese New Year items, so it is important for people to be aware of our conditions and remind friends and family overseas to not bring or send risk items to Australia.”

Chinese New Year items considered a biosecurity risk include:

  • meat products (chicken, preserved pork sausages and dried beef)
  • dairy products, including milk and yoghurt
  • plant matter (wooden artifacts, fresh bamboo shoots, lotus nuts and Chinese herbal medicines)
  • fresh or dried fruit and vegetables (dates, citrus, persimmons, lychees and longans)
  • uncanned whole eggs, especially duck eggs.

“Biosecurity is everyone’s responsibility and together we can ensure Australia remains free of some of the most damaging pests and diseases,” Ms Healy said.

“If you are travelling to Australia, make sure you declare any potential risk items on your incoming passenger card and if you are unsure, don’t be sorry, just declare it.

“The department wishes prosperity and good health to our Australian-Chinese community and those members of the community who are celebrating the Year of the Pig.”

For more information on what you can and can’t mail, visit Cultural and seasonal events