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Check biosecurity laws before accepting Raksha Bandhan gifts, sweets: Australian government

The Indian community in Australia will celebrate Raksha Bandhan on 22 August. Source: Getty Images/uniquely india

Members of the Indian community celebrating Raksha Bandhan are urged to acquaint themselves with Australia's biosecurity laws if expecting gifts and sweets from overseas.

The Australian government has requested residents celebrating Raksha Bandhan to ensure their family and friends know Australia's biosecurity laws before mailing gifts and delicacies. 


Highlights

  • Australia receives a large number of parcels during the Raksha Bandhan festival
  • Rakhi made with seeds or flowers are the most confiscated item: Government  
  • Delicacies sent from overseas 'should not include sweets containing milk'

Raksha Bandhan is a Hindu festival where sisters tie a thread (or Rakhi) around their brother's wrist for ritual protection. The Indian community will celebrate the festival on 22 August.

Indians in Australia Raksha Bandhan
Australia's Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment says Rakhi threads made with seeds or flowers are the most confiscated item at mail centres.
Getty Images/uniquely india

Dr Ajay Niranjane, Assistant Director at the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, said certain gift items and delicacies could pose a risk to Australia's biosecurity. 

"Please tell your family and friends not to send rakhi made with seeds or flowers," Dr Niranjane told SBS Hindi.

"We also don't encourage traditional Indian sweets containing milk such as barfi, gulab jamun, rasgulla, peda and soan-papdi that can carry a potential biosecurity risk. Likewise, people should avoid sending grains and dry fruits," he added.

Dr Niranjane said Australia receives a large number of parcels during the Raksha Bandhan festival.

"We check every parcel arriving into Australia through X-ray machines, sniffer dogs and officers. We confiscate items if they pose a risk to Australia's biosecurity. The receiver of the parcel is informed and given a choice. They can either give us the permission to destroy it or pay for the treatment of the items," Dr Nirnajane said.

"Your parcel may get delayed as we receive a large number of mails and check them all. So it's better to inform your relatives and friends about Australia's biosecurity laws and buy sweets from here to avoid delays," he added.

The department said the government will allow cotton Rakhi threads with plastic, fabric, gold or silver beads, gold or silver coins, personalised photo items, and artificial flowers.

Residents are requested to check awe.gov.au/rakhi for further information.

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