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Australia is well known for having very strict rules on what food and plant-based materials can be brought into the country, to try to keep the country free of diseases. Some food/animal/plant things can never be brought into the country, some may be if suitably declared, and a very small number are always fine.

What's the situation with chocolates though? I'd quite like to take a nice box of chocolates with me as a gift for someone when I go to Australia, but only if I'll be allowed to take them in. Does anyone know what the rules are for chocolates? Are they a never / usually ok if declared / normally fine thing?

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2 Answers 2

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Chocolate (and biscuits/cookies) are OK!

A travel blogger actually emailed the Australian Customs to see what the case was, and got a response:

Thank you for your enquiry about bringing biscuits and chocolates into > Australia as part of your personal luggage.

Cooked cakes, including cakes containing custard or dairy based fillings that have been cooked with the cake (excluding cheesecakes, mooncakes, dairy puddings, vanilla slices or Dulce de Leche), bread and shelf stable biscuits are allowed into Australia as part of your personal baggage from any country provided the items do not require refrigeration to maintain quality. Items that do not meet these import conditions must be re-exported from Australia or destroyed. Re-export of the items must be paid for by the importer.

Cakes decorated with material such as fresh flowers, leaves, fruits or raw nuts that were not cooked with the cake may need to have the flowers, leaves, fruits or nuts removed. Alternatively, cakes decorated with prohibited fresh flowers, leaves, fruits or raw nuts that were not cooked with the cake must be re-exported or destroyed. Re-export must be paid for by the importer.

To find the import conditions for bringing cheesecakes, dairy puddings or vanilla slices into Australia, you may consult AQIS’s Import Conditions database (ICON) at www.aqis.gov.au/icon. This database lists the Quarantine conditions under which various commodities may be brought into Australia. Using the ICON search facility, enter ‘Dairy’ into the ‘Commodity’ field, insert the country of manufacture in the ‘From country’ field and leave ‘All End Uses’ in the ‘For end-use’ field. Then, click “search” and the database will return the results. If an AQIS Import Permit is required, or if any other specific conditions apply, ICON will specify this.

The information available on ICON is the same information that AQIS’s clearing officers use when inspecting and clearing goods arriving into the country. I recommend that you refer to this database regularly to keep up to date with any import condition changes by AQIS.

Confectionery (excluding Indian milk-based desserts and sweets) is permitted into Australia providing the items are free of contaminants such as live insects. Confectionery includes toffees, chocolate, fudge, boiled sweets, peppermints, marshmallows, liquorice, etc. It does not include liquid dairy desserts, spreads or drinks.

Once passengers arrive in Australia, they are required to complete an Incoming Passenger Card (IPC). On the IPC, they must declare all items of food, animal or plant origin as well as any other articles that are covered on the card (e.g. medicines, wooden articles) – these items are only examples illustrating the types of items that must be declared under each category. All items of food, animal or plant origin must be declared on the IPC for the purpose of inspection by an Australian Quarantine Inspector.

After passengers have collected their luggage, they will be directed to a Quarantine Officer who will inspect any declared items and inspect and/or x-ray any remaining luggage before they depart the international arrivals area.

For further information on what goods can or cannot be brought into Australia, you may visit our website at www.daff.gov.au/aqis or our Import Conditions database (ICON) at www.aqis.gov.au/icon. This database lists the Quarantine conditions under which various commodities may be brought into Australia. Using the ICON search facility, enter the item into the ‘Commodity’ field, insert the country of manufacture or origin in the ‘From country’ field and leave ‘All End Uses’ in the ‘For end-use’ field. Then, click “search” and the database will return the results. If an AQIS Import Permit is required, or if any other specific conditions apply, ICON will specify this.

The information available on ICON is the same information that AQIS’s clearing officers use when inspecting and clearing goods arriving into the country. I recommend that you refer to this database regularly to keep up to date with any import condition changes by AQIS.

In addition, just last month I brought boxed chocolates and shortbread from NZ to Australia, and declared them, and had zero problems.

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5  
As of the latest Incoming Passenger Form (dated 11/12), the question regarding "Food" no longer exists, and now only specific types of food that are explicitly listed on the form need to be declared. –  Doc Dec 3 '12 at 20:12

Australia has recently changed the wording on the Incoming Passenger Card, and no longer even ask if you are carrying "Food" as they used to - but instead of certain types of listed food.

The questions now ask if you are bringing in :

6 - Meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, dairy, fruit, vegetables?

7 - Grains, seeds, bulbs, straw, nuts, plants, parts of plants, traditional medicines or herbs, wooden articles?

8 - Animals, parts of animals, animal products including equipment, pet food, eggs, biologicals, specimens, birds, fish, insects, shells, bee products?

Previously question 6 included the word "Food", but as of last month this reference is gone.

The question then becomes is chocolate "dairy" as most chocolate contains dairy products - but in general I think the answer to that would be no.

Certainly the immigrations officer I dealt with last week told me that the chocolates I was bringing in did NOT need to be declared - where previously they would have had to be declared, but would have been let through without any issues.

You can find a copy of the latest Incoming Passenger Form here.

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protected by Ankur Banerjee Jul 21 '13 at 20:52

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