BIOSÉCURITÉ

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FAQ

Isn't the use of methyl bromide expected to end?

Methyl bromide is a gas which depletes the stratospheric ozone layer. Its use must be avoided when any alternative treatment is available. Its use remains authorised as quarantine treatment under the Montreal Protocol.

What are the methyl bromide treatment hours?

The opening and closing hours of the treatment chambers are provided here.

What is ISPM 15?

The International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) consist in standards, directives and recommendations adopted by the members of the International Convention for the Protection of Plants with a view to harmonising phytosanitary measures in order to facilitate international trade. ISPM 15 is the standard which covers the import of raw wood packaging.

If I import wood packaging from a country that does not have the required facilities for the ISPM 15 provisions to be complied with, may these products be exempted? No. Such packaging will be re-exported or destroyed.

Which types of packaging wood are not concerned by ISPM 15?

Any packaging made from manufactured wood such as plywood, fibreboard, OSB, cartons.

Are the mail and postal packages also inspected?

Yes. Customs officers carry out searches as part of their inspection routine. They call upon the biosecurity officers when items of biosecurity concerns are found (seeds, meat,...).

What are the documents the captain of a vessel must present?

Before you reach your first port of call, inform the police, customs, quarantine (phytosanitary and zoosanitary) authorities of your arrival. For islands other than Tahiti, contact the 'Gendarmerie' and the plant quarantine department

If your vessel comes from a country infested by coconut quarantine pests, fill in the questionnaire Word | PDF which shall be remitted to you. Moreover, the fruits or vegetable-fruits will be confiscated, closed and sealed.

FAQ for travellers

What should I do if I want to carry regulated products outside French Polynesia?

If you carry animals, products of animal origin, plants, plant products, you may want to take advice from the destination country's consulate. You may need an import permit issued by the destination country and a phytosanitary certificate issued by the National Plant Protection Organization.
In the absence of an import permit, any information by the French Polynesian plant protection service regarding phytosanitary requirements of the destination countries is provided by way of reference only.

What should I do to report an insect or a disease?

First, contact the Service du Développement Rural extension officers (Rural Development Department). They will determine the identity of the pest. If it is exotic or unknown, take samples of plants or insects.

How can I import plants or plant products?

Please refer to the 'how to' import page (in French).

Should the wooden handicraft items I want to send from Tahiti to the outer islands of French Polynesia be fumigated?

No. These items may circulate freely between the islands of French Polynesia.

Which items should I have treated if I want to send them to continental France?

If they are plants, flowers or fruits, click here (in French).
It they are wooden handicraft items, the continental French regulations do not require that a treatment be carried out. However, if you want to travel without worries, our advice is that you have them treated in our department.

Raw wood items or packaging must be treated.

What penalties am I liable to if I do not declare any plants I am carrying to the outer islands?

If you do not declare, your plants will be seized and destroyed. You are also liable to a fine imposed by the Public Prosecutor.

In addition to the financial penalties, you will mainly put the flora and environment of your island at risk.

Can I receive seeds via the Postal Service? May I order from the Internet?

You must first apply for an import permit. Any seeds must come with a phytosanitary certificate.

If the value of your goods exceeds FCFP 30,000, you will have to pay the custom duties. Make sure the species you want to order are not on the CITES list.

What should I do when I arrive in French Polynesia?

If you carry regulated products that you do not want to keep, throw them away in the security bins located in the customs area. To declare your regulated products, proceed to the biosecurity desk, where phytosanitary and zoosanitary inspectors are present to help you.

Present phytosanitary or zoosanitary documents, if any. After examining your products and documents, your products will be released if our import requirements are met. Otherwise, you will have the choice between the following options:
- your products will be detained until your departure;
- they will be re-exported at your expense;
- they will be destroyed free of charge;
- they will be treated at your expense (according to the decision made by the biosecurity inspectors).

Which products present a biosecurity risk?

The products that may present a biosecurity risk include: meat and meat-based products, egg and egg-based products, dairy products, animals, products of animal origin (wool, leather, feathers, honey...), soil, seeds and plants, fresh or dried flowers, plant products (wood, handicraft, bamboo, reeds, rattan, pine cones, plant fibres (banana tree, pandanus, straw, ...) some Chinese medicine, soiled camping or sports gear.

Some products are prohibited under CITES. What is this all about?

CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna. Its aim is to make sure that international trade of animal specimens and wild plants do not threaten the lives of the species to which they belong. It covers items such as ivory, turtles, coral, clams, whales,... Plants, animals and the products concerned may be imported only if they come with a Cites export permit.

How can I know the import requirements for plants or plant products?

Access the database of Import Phytosanitary Requirements EPI (in French).

How should I declare my items upon arrival?

Proceed to the biosecurity desk before you clear through customs. You items will be inspected by the personnel of the biosecurity department. It an item is freely admitted into French Polynesia and if it does not present any risk, it will be rapidly given back to you. If the item is regulated, it will be detained for you or you will have to present an import permit or a phytosanitary certificate.
If you do not declare your items, you are liable to a fine.

How much are the fines for a fraudulent attempt?

Fines are determined either by customs or by the Public Prosecutor after a report has been filed.

What should I do if I want to import seeds, plants or vegetal products?

Apply for an import permit.

What are the conditions for the packaging wood which comes with my consignment?

Any packaging wood is inspected upon arrival for traces of insect infestation or soil contamination. Any raw wood used as packaging must be treated according to the standard ISPM 15 of the International Convention for the Protection of Plants or according to a procedure agreed by the biosecurity department.
Access EPIdatabase.

What are the import conditions regarding furniture?

The furniture is inspected upon arrival for traces of insect infestation or soil contamination.

Items which are found to be infested by insects or contaminated by soil, are treated or re-exported or destroyed. If no treatment on site is deemed sufficient, the items shall be re-exported or destroyed.

What should we do if we carry camping or sports gear that we have used?

Thoroughly clean such gear, especially shoes, before they enter French Polynesia.

What are the risks posed by the import of fruits?

The highest risk is the introduction of fruit flies; the eggs or larvae found in one single fruit may be at the origin of an economic disaster.

May I bring back a basket of fruits from New Zealand, Australia, the USA or France?

Yes, if they are on the list of authorised species: apples, pears, peaches, strawberries, persimmons... Refer to the EPIdatabase for each species of interest to you.

If an import permit is not mandatory for the species on this list, the phytosanitary requirements for each of them must nevertheless be met and the fruits must come with a phytosanitary certificate.

May I import coffee?

The import of roasted, granular or ground coffee, in a commercial packaging is authorised provided it is free from live pests.

The import of green coffee free of parchment is subject to previously obtaining an import permit. It must be treated with methyl bromide before shipping.

May I import fresh cut or dried flowers?

Yes, provided you previously apply for an import permit.
The dried flowers must fumigated with methyl bromide before shipping.

May I import dehydrated aromatic herbs or spices?

The import of dehydrated aromatic herbs or spices in sealed and commercial packaging is authorized without any phytosanitary document for personal use and provided they are free from any live pests.

May I import plant fibre items (pandanus, coconut, banana, hibiscus, ...)?

The import of plant fibre items is subject to previously obtaining an import permit on which the import and treatment conditions are specified.

May I import fruits or vegetables preserved in salt, vinegar, alcohol or sugar?

The import of fruits preserved or prepared in salt, vinegar, alcohol or sugar, in commercial packaging, is authorised without any phytosanitary document, provided such products have a shelf life of at least six months at ambient temperature.

May I import tea and herb teas?

The import of tea and herb teas commercially packaged and for personal use is authorised without phytosanitary certificate. An inspection may be carried out in order to make sure that some mixes do not contain regulated or prohibited products.

May I import wooden handicraft items?

For a returning traveller to import wooden handiraft objects for his personal use is authorised without phytosanitary document. An inspection will enable to make sure they are free from pests. Should it not be so, they may:
- be detained until your departure;
- be re-exported at your expense;
- be destroyed free of charge;
- be treated at your expense (according to the decision made by the biosecurity inspectors).

Caution: Objects containing plant fibres, coconut wood, bamboo pieces that are likely to host insects must be subject to a prior application for an import permit and a treatment.

During a trip, may I import small quantities of seeds without any phytosanitary document?

This is tolerated for personal use (50 seeds) provided the import of those species is authorised from the producing country. Refer to our EPI database. They must come in a hermetical commercial package. The scientific name must be clearly indicated on the package. The inspectors may keep the seeds for further investigations when the seed supplier does not provide all the guarantees we expect.
If you do not declare those seeds, you are liable to a fine.

My souvenirs are commercially packaged; is there any risk?

Souvenirs, even if they are commercially packaged, may present a risk for biosecurity, e.g. scented pot-pourri may host insects or seeds.

May I carry food with me in the transit area?

Yes, but throw away your left-over food in the biosecurity bins before clearing through the biosecurity desk.

What are the risks posed by the import of meat?

The foot-and-mouth virus may survive for quite some time in infected animal products.

May I import foie gras, sausage or pork ham from France?

Yes, limited to 7 kg per person without any sanitary certificate, provided the products are correctly tagged and stamped (F CEE). The products will be inspected in order to check their condition and whether they have been transported at the temperature shown on the product tag.

May I import pork or turkey ham from Australia, the USA or New Zealand?

Yes, without a certificate below the 7 kg limit, provided it is tagged and stamped USDA Inspection (or Australia or New Zealand) and it has been transported at the temperature shown on the tag. When it exceeds 7 kg, a sanitary certificate must come with the product.

May I import through the postal service charcuterie from France if it is has been vacuum-packed or cheese from France?

No, because such products will not have been transported at a sufficiently low temperature so as to guarantee their preservation. Many products, upon arrival, are rotten, full of maggots. Vacuum-packed products are swollen because they have not been kept in cold conditions and they may turn out to be very dangerous for health (development of Clostridium). You need to import them by freight, following the cold chain, within a limit of 7 kg per package, without a sanitary certificate.

May I import products containing beef (ravioli, cannelloni, stewed beef, veal stock, kosher veal sausage, bouillon cube...) from France?

No because that country is infected by BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) and the Government has adopted a high-level of protection of French Polynesia regarding that disease.

May I import meat-based artisan's products?

No, because it will not be possible to determine the country of origin of the meat, nor will it be possible to know whether the thermal treatment applied has actually destroyed the viruses potentially present, nor to know whether that product is dangerous for human consumption (home-made jars may seriously cause intoxications if they have not been correctly prepared).

May I import some raw ham from Italy?

No, because that country is infected by the swine vesicular disease.

May I import sausages, dried meat, century eggs from Asia?

No, because these products may carry viruses such as foot-and-mouth disease, classical swine fever, avian influenza.

May I import beef jerky from the USA?

No because that country is infected by BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) and the Government has adopted a high-level of protection of French Polynesia regarding that disease.

May I import oysters, mussels, from New Zealand?

Yes, without a certificate below 7 kg; and with a certificate if the weight exceeds 7 kg.

May I import deer sausage, crabs, shrimps from New Caledonia?

Yes, without a certificate below 7 kg; and with a certificate if the weight exceeds 7 kg.

May I import punu pua'a toro (corned beef) from the Cook islands?

Yes, without a certificate below 7 kg; and with a certificate if the weight exceeds 7 kg.

May I import honey from New Zealand?

No, because this country is infected by the American foulbrood and the New Zealand veterinary authorities cannot issue any sanitary certificate because certification is impossible owing to the fact that bee-keepers were late in reporting the disease.

May I import honey from France?

Only if it comes with a compliant sanitary certificate, even below 7 kg, because France is infected by foulbrood.

May I import a 20 kg bag of dog croquettes without a sanitary certificate?

No, because importing animal feed in excess of 7 kg is considered as a commercial import.

May I bring my dog or cat ?

Please contact the Food Quality and Veterinary Action Department telephone: +689 423 518, fax: +689 423 552 or e-mail: sdr.qaav@rural.gov.pf in order to know the import requirements for your pets. An import authorisation is mandatory and it specifies the obligatory health requirements (vaccinations, anti-parasite treatments, quarantine...).

Is the import of pit-bulls authorised?

No. The import of the following breeds is prohibited: Argentine Dogo, Fila brazileiro, Japanese Tosa, American Staffordshire terrier, Staffordshire terrier and the dogs which, morphologically, are similar to Staffordshire terriers (pitt-bulls).

May I export punu pua'a toro (corned beef) to continental France?

No, meat-based products from French Polynesia may not be imported into Europe.

May I send oceanic fish to continental France?

Yes, provided it has been purchased in a store which is approved for export to Europe and certified by the Food Quality and Veterinary Action Department Tel: +689 829 612.

May I send lagoon fish to continental France?

No, because there is no ciguatera screening test available for an individual fish and at a reasonable price.

Why is some insecticide sometimes sprayed in an aircraft cabin?

Insecticide sprays before passengers and crew disembark are quite rare nowadays. Most airlines have their aircraft treated with an insecticide having a residual effect for some weeks or have some spray released during the flight. All treatment products are authorised by the World Health Organisation.

What do you call «travellers' quota» ?

Some fresh agricultural products (fruits, vegetables) are subject to import quotas in order to protect the local producers. The Foreign Trade Department (Service du commerce extérieur, tel +689 506 464) may however issue an authorisation to import, called the travellers' quota, for occasional and non commercial imports. Authorisation is given only for not more than 40 kg of products per traveller.