Summer fruit salad ingredients sniffed out in luggage
With the summer holiday season and increasing number of people travelling into Western Australia, the Department of Agriculture and Food has reminded travellers of restrictions on items that can be brought into the state.
Department Border Biosecurity Acting Director Lloyd Mason said strict quarantine measures were in place to prevent the introduction of exotic pests, diseases and weeds found in many other states and territories of Australia.
He said recently at the Perth Domestic Airport, one of the department’s Quarantine WA detector dogs sniffed out what emerged to be the largest seizure by the detector dog unit in about three years.
“Detector dog Jackson and his handler intercepted a family returning from Sydney carrying a significant amount of undeclared fruit, nuts and plant material among them,” Mr Mason said.
“The passengers’ haul included 15 mangoes, 68 bananas, two whole pineapples, as well as seven ginger bulbs with stems, six kilograms of betel nuts, three plants and two kilograms of plant material.
“The items posed a considerable quarantine risk to our valuable agricultural industries and could have spread a range of unwanted pests and diseases.
“Mangoes can carry fruit fly, mango scab and mango seed weevil, ginger can host silver leaf and spiralling white flies, and bananas can carry fruit flies, coffee bean weevil and banana aphid.
“Many plants are prohibited from entering WA due to pest and disease restrictions or their potential to become weeds.
“If introduced to Western Australia, these pests, weeds and diseases could compromise our national and international markets and devastate the State’s agricultural industries.”
Common threats to WA include fresh fruit, vegetables, some nuts, seed and other plant material, in addition to honey and other hive products.
At road checkpoints on our borders with the Northern Territory and South Australia and sea ports, vehicles, used machinery, garden tools and equipment and cargo containers must be free of soil and plant material when entering the State.
Restrictions may also apply to many animals, birds, fish and insects.
Mr Mason suggested travellers and people moving to Western Australia go to the WA Organism List (WAOL) for more information on prohibited items, and to check what restrictions apply on the Quarantine WA Import Requirements Search.
“When arriving in Western Australia by air, if in doubt about the quarantine status of any items you’re carrying, declare them to a quarantine inspector or deposit them in one of the quarantine amnesty bins available at the airport,” he said.
“Your baggage and hand luggage may be checked by inspectors with sniffer dogs for quarantine risk items as you collect it from the baggage carousel.
More information about quarantine threats to Western Australia and what to do on arrival by air, road, rail or sea is available on the department website.