Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, 2010
This fact sheet provides information on how to legally export or import products containing hoodia from and to Australia. It should be read in conjunction with the general information sheets entitled How to export or import wildlife products and The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
The Australian Government is committed to protecting and conserving Australian native wildlife by regulating international trade. This helps to protect targeted species against overexploitation, and Australian ecosystems against the introduction of invasive species.
The Australian Government also works with other nations to protect wildlife globally, by implementing CITES (see CITES fact sheet mentioned above).
In Australia, the export and import of wildlife and wildlife products is regulated under Part 13A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act), which is administered by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.
Regulation applies equally to individuals, commercial organisations and not-for-profit organisations.
Hoodia and CITES
Hoodia (Hoodia gordonii) is a succulent plant species native to desert regions in southern Africa. Purported to have natural appetite suppressing qualities, hoodia is widely promoted and traded as a weight loss ingredient.
Hoodia has been included in the CITES Appendix II list in response to the decline in its wild populations as a result of unregulated international trade.
Warning: buying hoodia products online could land you in trouble. Ask yourself; Where are the products coming from? Do I need permits?
Hoodia products are often promoted and traded via the internet and other media outlets. Unfortunately, many Australians have purchased hoodia products from overseas vendors, only to have their order seized by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service because the correct CITES permits did not accompany the shipment.
By purchasing the hoodia and bringing it into Australia without a valid CITES import permit, Australian consumers are unwittingly breaching Australia's international wildlife trade laws. The products they have paid for are seized and often destroyed.
The department is working actively with other CITES management authorities, and informing Australian consumers and businesses of the requirements they must meet before they can legally import hoodia into Australia.
You can protect yourself by being aware of the ingredients of any product you buy.
A re-export permit may be issued for the export of specimens that have been legally imported into Australia, subject to any conditions legally imposed at the time of import.
A permit issued by the department is generally needed to legally import hoodia products. An import permit is not needed if non-livespecimens are being imported in accompanied baggage for personal purposes, and a permit to export has been issued by the CITES management authority of the country of export.
An export permit must be acquired from the exporting countries CITES management authority before any application for an Australian import permit. A copy of the export permit will be required to support the import permit application.
Hoodia has been listed as a declared specimen. This means that, if the import is for commercial purposes and the hoodia has not been artificially propagated, it must be demonstrated that it has been harvested as part of an approved commercial import program.
There are currently no approved commercial import programs for hoodia. Further details on commercial import programs can be obtained from the department.
What else do I need to know?
Exports and imports of wildlife and wildlife products may also be subject to regulation under the Customs Act 1901 (administered by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service) and the Quarantine Act 1908 (administered by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service). These organisations may be contacted through offices in each state capital, or through their head offices:
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service
5 Constitution Avenue
Canberra ACT 2601
Telephone: 02 6275 6666
Freecall: 1300 363 263
Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS)
GPO Box 858
Canberra ACT 2601
Telephone: 02 6272 3933
Freecall: 1800 020 504
Where can I get more information?
For more information on permits, please read the general information sheet entitled How to export or import wildlife products or contact the department at the address below:
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
Wildlife Trade Regulation Section
GPO BOX 787
Canberra ACT 2601
Phone: 02 6274 1900
Facsimile: 02 6274 1921