Ration packs

During military training exercises, troops are often isolated in remote areas of the Australian wilderness. As they are in direct contact with the environment, and out of biosecurity control, it is important that all foods are fully assessed in advance to eliminate the risk of introducing exotic pests or diseases to our native flora and fauna.

Biosecurity risks are associated with a variety of ingredients in foodstuffs and biological products imported into Australia. This includes foodstuffs brought in for and by military and defence personnel.

Any ration pack/MRE consignments, excluding returning Australian ration packs, entering Australian territory will be exported or destroyed at the importers expense if: 

  • not accompanied by an import permit or means to identify the import permit
  • the full contents/ingredients of the packs are not clearly identifiable on outside packaging

Import permit applications should be lodged at least six weeks in advance of arrival in Australia. This time allows for extra information to be obtained if needed, and also allows for new arrangements to be made if necessary. Import conditions can be found on the Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON). BICON can be used to determine if a commodity intended for import into Australian territory needs an import permit and/or treatment or if there are any other biosecurity prerequisites. To search BICON, type your search term, for example 'ration' or 'military food', into the Quick search, then press the 'Search' button.

Ration packs/MRE returning to Australia with the Australian Defence Force or Australian Government rescue teams do not require an import permit.  However, all other applicable import conditions listed in BICON must be met.

In the past some troops have brought extra food with them, some of which has been confiscated on arrival. We ask that troops be mindful of regulations and what foods are safe. You can search BICON for any additional foods you may wish to bring to see if they’re safe before arriving.

Last reviewed: 21 January 2020
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