A jar of fish guts, an edible bird's nest tucked inside a Pringles canister, and a hairy pig's leg, complete from hip to trotter, are just three examples of food seized by quarantine officers at Sydney Airport in the past two months.
They were prized delicacies in the eyes of their owners but to quarantine officials, they were potential carriers of unwanted pests and diseases that could damage Australia's agricultural sector and delicate environment.
Quarantine officers seized 1.6 million separate food items in the past five years, Department of Agriculture data shows. Food accounts for 60 per cent of goods intercepted at the gates.
The majority of confiscated food was seemingly innocuous fruit and vegetables, and sandwiches carried off the plane.
But last year alone, officers seized and destroyed ''fresh'' dead snakes from Vietnam, a set of bird's wings from Canada, and smoked bacon in milk chocolate from the US.
The number of impounded food items has halved in five years, from 348,186 items in 2008-09 to 152,272 during 2012-13.
Rona Mellor, the department's deputy secretary of the biosecurity division, said procedural changes made in 2009 meant low-risk processed and labelled food was allowed through the gates without a full inspection.
''The high-risk stuff is fresh food. Chocolate bars, biscuits, potato chips are pretty low biosecurity risks,'' she said.
''Our scientists have been working through commercially packaged food. If we can see the label and know what's in it, we're less likely to be concerned.''
The whole pig leg intercepted on August 13 at Sydney Airport originated from China, where foot and mouth disease and classical swine fever have destablised agricultural industries.
The detection of either disease in Australia could ruin the pork industry, a department spokesman said.
During periods of cultural festivities, officers are kept busy watching out for food products such as eggs at Easter, traditional Indian sweets during Raki and the citrus fruit etrog used during the Jewish festival of Sukkot.
In the lead-up to the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival in September, officers seized 270 mooncakes containing meat.