Don’t get caught out telling porkies

7 May 2021

3D x-rays at Australia's mail centres intercepted 380 kilograms of meat items, including 41kg of pork, in mail parcels this year.

The risky meat items included pork, poultry, and sausages, with some intercepted parcels weighing up to 10kg each.

Head of Biosecurity at the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, Andrew Tongue said that while this was proof that Australia’s biosecurity system was effective, it was important for everyone to take biosecurity seriously.

“Undeclared meat products can carry African swine fever (ASF) and Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), both of which could be devastating to Australia if we were to have an outbreak,” Mr Tongue said.

“Studies have estimated a large multi-state outbreak of FMD in Australia could result in economic losses of $50 billion dollars over 10 years and an outbreak of ASF could cost Australia $1.5 to 2.03 billion dollars over five years.

“If you’re caught risking Australia’s biosecurity, the consequences are serious. You risk heavy fines, going to prison, or having your visa cancelled.

“Despite the serious consequences, we are continuing to intercept these parcels, which means that the message isn’t getting through to some parts of the community.

“If you aren’t sure what can and can’t be brought into Australia, you can check online.

“When it comes to biosecurity, complacency is not an option.”

If you are unsure about the biosecurity status of goods that you have brought into Australia or received in the mail, please report a biosecurity concern by calling our See. Secure. Report. hotline on 1800 798 636 or completing our online reporting form.

To check what items can be brought or mailed into Australia, see Bringing or mailing goods to Australia - Department of Agriculture or BICON - Australian Biosecurity Import Conditions (

Fast facts

  • The department has developed the world’s first auto-detection algorithms for identifying biosecurity risk which can now detect fruit, meat, seafood, vegetable and plant material.
  • In 2020, RTT screened approximately 63,753 mail items, and had 779 detections at the gateway facilities.
  • In January – June 2020, the T2 Melbourne International Airport RTT scanned approximately 39,400 bags, and had approximately 2,400 seizures.