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Risk Item in Diwali mail. No surprise for quarantine

The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) today issued a reminder to those communities celebrating Diwali that some items can't be mailed to Australia.

"In the lead up to Diwali 2007 AQIS anticipates that many mail parcels containing traditional gifts will be selected for quarantine inspection at international mail centres across Australia, " says AQIS Spokesperson, Caroline Martin.

All international mail is screened using X-rays and detector dogs. Items suspected of containing quarantine risk materials, such as food, plant material or animal products are referred for more thorough examination. If quarantine risk material is found, the recipient of the mail is offered a choice of treatments, re-export or destruction. 

"Many of the items seized by AQIS during Diwali are foodstuffs such as mysore pak, gulab jamun and pendas. These seemingly innocent sweets are made of khoya base or contain dairy products and could introduce diseases such as Foot and Mouth Disease into Australia." 

"It is unfortunate, but due to their high quarantine risk most of these items can only be returned to the sender or destroyed." says Mrs Martin.

Over the past eight months AQIS seized more than 3000 items from mail parcels arriving from India. 

To ensure your mail reaches you quickly and intact AQIS asks that you advise friends and family overseas, not to send high risk items to Australia. If you plan to send items to Australia, make sure that you correctly document all items in the parcel, including packing materials, on the mail declaration.

Items commonly seized from India include plant products, fruit and vegetables such as apples and items with apple including tea, banana chips and citrus both fresh and dried. Other items of quarantine concern include spices, sultanas, jasmine flowers, seeds and seed jewellery, dairy products and nuts including almonds. 

To all Hindu communities AQIS wishes a very happy Diwali.To find out what can and can't be mailed to Australia visit:

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