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Can You Bring Rendang into Australia?

One common issue that most international students face is the feeling of missing dishes and snacks from back home.

For Indonesian students, that would mean instant noodles, sambal, chips, instant cooking spices and maybe rendang.

For those heading to Australia, the country does have eateries that serve Indonesian favourites, but what about the other food items? Can you get them past the Australian customs?

Every country has its own set of rules to keep the host country safe and be free of foreign diseases and pests. Australia, which is an agricultural country, has stringent agricultural procedures.

If you’re considering smuggling some of the prohibited items anyway, here’s why you shouldn't. You really don’t want to be fined up to A$420,000 or get a 10-year jail term, do you?

In this article, we’ll be going through the main categories of items that get the green light and those that are sadly prohibited.

Things to Bring & Not to Bring

#1 Packed Food

If you have a sweet tooth, rejoice because many of your sugary treats get the green light at airport customs.

Confectionery such as chocolate, cookies and cakes are allowed into Australia as long as they are shelf-stable, fully cooked, and contain no meat!

However, you’ll have to do without your favourite traditional delights such as Bak Kwa while you’re in Australia.

According to the Australian Border Force’s website, “jerky and biltong derived from pig meat brought in for personal use will no longer be permitted and is considered to pose a high biosecurity risk”.

When it comes to honey products, ginseng, and other herbal tea, you can still bring them along, but you’ll have to declare them.

You know what they say about moderation, and that’s the same when bringing food through airport customs. So if you were planning on bringing a year-long supply of your favourite food with you, do check this out to make sure you haven’t gone overboard!

#2 Fresh Food

Thinking of taking along your homemade kueh and other dishes? Or perhaps some tropical fruit such as jackfruit or mangosteen?

It’s not that shocking that fresh food is not allowed through airport customs in Australia. While pre-packed food and processed food usually gets the green light, many countries are wary of foreign pathogens that may be in the fresh food you bring along.

#3 Technological Products

If you are going to study in Australia, you’ll probably have your laptop and phone with you. Those will give you no issues passing through airport security.

But if you have a favourite laser pointer or pen with a sharp beam, you might want to check that it has a strength lower than 1 mW. If it’s one of those laser pointers on a keychain with watch batteries, you are probably in the clear.

#4 Plants, Flowers, Seeds

Are you a fan of horticulture? If you are, you might be planning to bring along some seeds to see how the plants grow in a new climate.

Here are some things you should take note of:

  • Seeds must be commercially packed and labelled with the full botanical name
  • Seeds must be free of contamination
  • Seeds must be of permitted species (Find out if yours is here!)

Live plants and flowers are not allowed Down Under. So if you want some plants to liven up your new home, you’ll have to buy them or grow them yourself in Australia!

#5 Meat & Produce

When it comes to bringing meat and produce, they must be in sealed packages and shelf-stable.

Can’t do without meat floss topping on toast or porridge? Good news! You can continue to enjoy them in Australia. As long as the floss is commercially produced and fine, you’ll have no problems bringing them across customs.

Unless the product is of avian or pork origin, you can bring them along and declare them at customs! If the meat is uncanned, you’ll have to fill in an import permit.

What to do if you are unsure?

If you want more detailed information on what things you can bring, do check out the Australian Border Force’s website.

If you still can't figure out if the item falls under ‘Maybe' or ‘Not Allowed', declare it at the customs as a potential biosecurity risk anyway. The customs agents will sort it out, and you won't face any penalties for bringing the item along.

You might have some delay, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Study Abroad is Easy, Really!

So you've reached the last step of planning, and your study abroad journey is just a flight away.

Don’t let the tiny details such as what to pack stress you out! Just pose them to your IDP counsellor and they’ll be more than happy to help.

If you’re still wondering where to study overseas or unsure which course is the most ideal for you, simply fill in your details and make a free appointment.

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