Don't be a love bug this Valentine’s Day

14 February 2020

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

Head of Biosecurity at the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, Lyn O’Connell has warned romantics that presents like flowers, plants and soft toys may be carrying biosecurity risks.

“Cut flower imports to Australia have increased more than threefold in the last decade and so too has the opportunity for pests and diseases to arrive with them,” Ms O’Connell said.

“Valentine’s Day shoppers should be aware of biosecurity rules before purchasing gifts from overseas for their special someone.

“Insect pests such as thrips, mites and aphids are the main pests of concern associated with cut flowers.

“Soft toys filled with sand may carry exotic weed seeds or major stored grain pests such as the Khapra beetle. These pests could damage our agricultural and horticultural industries and our environment.

“Fresh fruit, meat and animal products might carry pests and disease that threaten Australian industries and community health.

”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.

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

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

“Everyone has a role to play in helping to keep the country free from pests and diseases.

“This Valentine’s Day, show your love for Australia by playing your part to help keep us free of unwanted biosecurity risks.

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

Find out more about importing flowers here: agriculture.gov.au/import/goods/plant-products/cut-flowers-foliage