The Quarantine Act 1908 requires that all imports of food comply with the Quarantine conditions for their import. Quarantine restrictions apply to many raw foods and certain processed foods. The following items are restricted:

 – eggs and egg products
 – dairy products
 – uncanned meat
 – seeds and nuts
 – fresh fruit and vegetables

Other food items must be shipped in quantities for personal use only and not in commercial quantities.  They must also be shipped in original containers clearly labelled with ingredients. 

Dried spices are able to be imported in quantities for personal use as long as they are in their original packets and ingredients are clearly marked (preferably in English).  Canned foods and dried foods are also able to be imported on the same basis as the dried spices, provided they do not represent any of the restricted items listed above.

All food items should be noted clearly on packing list since they need to be easily located and inspected by Australian Quarantine who will want to examine them closely.  In practice most of the foodstuffs are released after inspection, again excluding the restricted items mentioned.

Any kitchen equipment, cooking equipment etc., must be thoroughly clean and clear of any evidence of foodstuffs/meat etc, otherwise Quarantine may order for very expensive steam cleaning and reinspection.


Clients may import an unlimited amount of alcohol in Personal Effects shipments coming to Australia.  They could expect to pay around 50% of the total declared purchase price in duty and tax. A fully completed Alcohol and Tobacco Declaration must be submitted to customs.  This is available at 

Your client can prepare their own list at origin (particularly if they have an extensive collection/list/catalogue) the main thing is the list is in the format and/or contains the information outlined in the above download.

In terms of opened bottles of alcohol, client needs to note on list/catalogue that bottle is opened and specify amount/percentage of contents not consumed for that bottle.


Over the counter medicines may be imported but should be clearly marked on the packing list so they can be easily located if required. Prescription medicines may also be imported however the prescription will need to be sighted by Customs, so ensure prescriptions are legible and in English.  If they are not in English Customs may require a formal written translation.