With Rakhi coming up on 3 August, the department is asking those expecting gifts and delicacies from overseas to ensure that friends and family are aware of Australia’s strict biosecurity laws.
Head of Biosecurity at the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, Lyn O’Connell, said some gifts and delicacies may not be permitted as they could pose a pest or disease threat.
“In the lead up to cultural events, such as Rakhi, there are particular items that might be sent to Australia which will be intercepted at mail centres,” Ms O’Connell said.
“This includes gifts and delicacies made from seeds, plant or animal material, which can all pose a biosecurity risk.
“Seeds and plants can carry pathogens or pests that can threaten the environment and horticulture industries.
“We have already seen an increase in risk items intercepted at our mail centres this year, with 30,000 potential risk items intercepted between January and April.
“If you are expecting gifts or delicacies this year, make sure you do your biosecurity research and help us spread awareness of Australia’s biosecurity conditions.
“This will help ensure gifts and delicacies arrive on time. You will also be helping safeguard Australia from a range of deadly biosecurity pest and disease risks.”
Raksha-Bandhan is an annual tradition involving sisters tying thread (a rakhi) around their brother’s wrist for ritual protection, often combined with the brothers and sisters exchanging gifts and delicacies.
Rakhi gifts and delicacies that may pose a risk and therefore are not permitted include:
- Rakhi threads made with seeds or flowers (Noting seeds are the most confiscated item at our mail centres)
- traditional Indian sweets (mithai) that contain milk, such as barfi, mysore pak, gulab jamun, rasgulla, pedas or soan-papdi
- grains and dried fruits.
For more information, visit agriculture.gov.au/rakhi-rakshabandhan.