Online Shopping Sees Increase in Biosecurity Risk

The increase in online shopping means an increase in biosecurity hazards too.


WHO doesn’t love receiving a package in the mail?

But have you ever stopped to consider that it could pose a biosecurity risk?

With an increase in online shopping, local consumers are being reminded to look out for unwanted exotic plant pests in packages received from overseas.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Manager Plant Biosecurity Prevention & Preparedness, Chris Anderson, said it’s important for everyone to be aware and to report anything unusual.

The NSW DPI reports unwanted exotic pests pose a threat to the state’s $15.7 billion primary industries.

“Online shopping, gifts from family and friends or imported items can easily harbour insect pests and diseases which could cause damage and threaten farming communities,” Dr Anderson said.

“If you are purchasing goods from overseas, especially seeds and items made from wood or organic material, check whether it can legally come into Australia.

“From exotic fruit flies, exotic drywood termites and invasive snails, the Australian Government lists the top 40 unwanted plant pests on its website,

“Australia is in the fortunate situation of being free of many significant pests that adversely affect agricultural production in other countries.

“Good biosecurity practices protect us all from the impacts of animal and plant pests, diseases and weeds.

“We all share the responsibility for managing biosecurity risks and together we can protect NSW’s strong economy, safe healthy food supply and unique natural environment.”

NSW DPI encourages people to report any signs of pests and diseases found in imported goods by calling the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline 1800 084 881 or use the online form.

Take a clear photo of the pest and email the clear photos with a brief description and your contact details to [email protected] 

If samples for diagnostic purposes are required Biosecurity NSW will advise you on how to take a sample or arrange a Biosecurity NSW person to take samples.

Do not move the pest, plant or plant parts until you have consulted with Biosecurity NSW staff and are sure that the pest or disease is not an exotic plant pest.


By Sandra MOON

Leave a Reply