INCIDENTS of unsolicited seed packets being received through the mail are being investigated by authorities and raise concerns about the risk to Australia’s biosecurity.
Head of Biosecurity Operations, Emily Canning, said imported seeds must adhere to strict biosecurity conditions that help manage pest and disease risks.
“The department is aware of the cases overseas and we have had a small number of reports in Australia that are under investigation,” Ms Canning said.
“It is an important reminder that we all need to do our part to safeguard Australia from biosecurity pests and diseases.
“This includes reporting potential biosecurity breaches and following the correct process if you are purchasing seeds from overseas.
“If you do receive seeds in the mail that you did not purchase, do not plant the seeds or put them in the garbage.
“Secure the seeds and immediately report it to the department.”
Ms Canning said imported seeds that did not meet biosecurity conditions could threaten the environment, agricultural industries and even backyard gardens.
“They could also be carrying invasive species or harmful plant diseases,” she said.
“This is why we have strict conditions for the import of seeds, to help manage these serious biosecurity threats.
“At our international mail centres, detector dogs, x-rays and biosecurity officers are also in place to intercept any potential risk items that arrive.
“We do regularly intercept seed packets from overseas that are mis-declared as jewellery, gifts, earrings and garden tools.
“These items are either exported back to the sender or destroyed, to ensure they do not harm Australia’s agriculture or environment.
“We all have a role to play to support our biosecurity. Be biosecurity aware, report any breaches and help keep Australia free of pests and diseases.”
Source: Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
To report a potential biosecurity breach visit awe.gov.au/report or 1800 798 636.