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As part of an exclusive special investigation by SBS Punjabi Radio into Australia’s food import practices, hidden camera footage reveals that SBS journalists were able to buy a large handful of betel nut quite easily from under the counter at a South Asian grocery store in Melbourne.
The seed of the areca palm fruit, betel nut is commonly chewed as a mouth freshener by many South Asians, where it is often known as paan, but it is also a known carcinogen, and there is a ban on its importation into Australia.
The Australian Drug Foundation advises that "there is no safe level of drug use" for Betel Nut.
This calls into question the robustness of import protocols in Australia, if a prohibited substance can be imported for sale at retail outlets.