BIOSECURITY Australia has warned Aussies choose carefully when purchasing Valentine's Day presents.The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has warned romantics that presents like flowers, plants and soft toys that may have sand or rice in them could carry biosecurity risks, while fresh fruit, meat and animal products might carry pests and diseases that threaten Australian agricultural industries, environment or community health.
"If you don't want to break a heart this Valentine's Day make sure your gifts of love purchased overseas aren't stopped at the border because they fail Australia's strict biosecurity requirements,'' a spokesperson said.
DAFF first assistant secretary border compliance Tim Chapman said Valentine's Day shoppers should be aware of biosecurity rules before purchasing gifts from overseas for their special someone.
"If you're expecting gifts from overseas or buying them online be aware of what can be brought into Australia,'' he said.
"Although gifts can be purchased online it is the buyer's responsibility to ensure they comply with Australia's biosecurity laws.''
Mr Chapman said DAFF staff at the international mail centres would be looking out for Valentine's Day gifts that could pose a biosecurity risk.
"All items ordered online from overseas are subject to stringent checks to assess biosecurity risks,'' he said.
"They may be subject to x-ray, detector dogs or inspection by a DAFF officer.
"Failing to declare or falsely declaring risk items can result in a fine or possible prosecution.''
Mr Chapman said everyone had a role to play in helping to keep the country free from pests and diseases.
"Australia enjoys an enviable pest and disease-free status with significant benefits for the economy, environment and community. Together we can keep it that way,'' Mr Chapman said.