What Foods Can I Bring Back from Abroad?

Vendor selling Thailand's amazing fruit

What Foods Can I Bring Back from Abroad?
Yesterday’s tip was about bringing cheese back into the United States after traveling abroad. But if you want to know exactly what foods you can bring back home, here’s the (almost) complete list, straight from US Customs and Border Protection (CPB):

“The following are generally admissible:

  • Condiments such as ketchup (catsup), mustard, mayonnaise, Marmite and Vegemite and prepared sauces that do not contain meat products
  • Olive oil and other vegetable oils
  • Bread, cookies, crackers, cakes, granola bars, cereal and other baked and processed products
  • Candy and chocolate
  • Cheese — (See yesterday’s tip)
  • Canned goods and goods in vacuum packed jars (other than those containing meat or poultry products) for your personal use
  • Fish — Personal amounts of fish, shrimp, abalone and other seafood are allowed and can be fresh, frozen, dried, smoked, canned or cooked
  • Dried fruit — Things like apricots, barberry, currants, dates, figs, gooseberries, peaches, prunes, raisins, tomatillos, and zereshk (USDA Miscellaneous and Processed Products Manual, Table 3-69)
  • Liquid milk and milk products intended for use by infants or very young children are admissible if in a reasonable amount or small quantity for several days’ use. Note: Milk and milk products from goats must be accompanied by a USDA import permit if from regions classified as affected with foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) or Rinderpest.
  • Powder drinks sealed in original containers with ingredients listed in English. However, admissibility is still under the discretion of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Agricultural Specialist.
  • Juices — Commercially canned (USDA Miscellaneous and Processed Products Manual, Table 3-75)
  • Tea — Commercially packaged and ready to be boiled, steeped or microwaved in liquid. Coca, barberry and loose citrus leaves are prohibited (USDA Miscellaneous and Processed Products Manual, Table 3-148)
  • Coffee — Roasted or unroasted if there is no pulp attached. (USDA Miscellaneous and Processed Products Manual, Table 3-48)
  • Spices — Most dried spices are allowed except for orange, lemon, lime and other citrus leaves and seeds, lemongrass, and many vegetable and fruit seeds
  • Honey — Comb honey, royal jelly, bee bread, or propolis if it is not intended to be fed to bees (USDA Miscellaneous and Processed Products Manual, Table 3-100)
  • Noodles and ramen that do not have meat or eggs in the spice packets
  • Rice — (See ALERT below) white rice, basmati rice, brown rice, husked rice, polished rice, rice flour and other products that do not have the hull attached (USDA Miscellaneous and Processed Products Manual, Table 3-130). ALERT: Effective July 30, 2011 non-commercial quantities of rice from countries where Khapra beetle is known to occur will be prohibited from entering the United States. Failure to declare rice will result in fines.
  • Flour — Wheat, rice, oat and cornmeal
  • Mushrooms, fresh and dried — Above ground parts that are clean and free of soil
  • Nuts — All nuts are allowed if they have been boiled, cooked, ground, oven dried, pureed, roasted, or steamed. Other nuts may be allowed if they are free from their husks (the shell remains), such as almonds, betel nuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, coquilla nuts, filberts (hazelnuts), Java olives, kara nuts, gingko nuts, macadamias, pecans, pili nuts, pine nuts (pinon nuts), pistachios, and walnuts. (USDA Miscellaneous and Processed Products Manual, Table 3-105, 3-106)
  • Bakery items, candy, chocolate, and dry mixes containing dairy and egg ingredients [such as baking mixes, cocoa mixes, drink mixes, instant cake mixes, instant pudding mixes, liquid drink mixes containing reconstituted dry milk or dry milk products (including those that contain sugar), potato flakes, and infant formula] commercially labeled and presented in final finished packaging are generally admissible.
  • Fruits and vegetables — Travelers may check the general admissibility of fruits and vegetables by consulting APHIS’s FAVIR database. Simply select the type of fruit or vegetable in the “Approved Name:”, and then select the country of origin in the “Country/Region:” field. You will receive one of the following results:
    — 0 entries found means the fruit or vegetable is NOT allowed into the United States
    — # entry(ies) found [followed by the name of the commodity and the name of the country] click on “CIR”.
    If the import requirements indicate: 1 Subject to Inspection: This commodity is subject to inspection at the port of entry and all general requirements of 7 CFR 319.56-3. The fruit or vegetable is allowed into the United States pending Inspection.
    If the import requirements indicate: Condition of entry treatment then the fruit or vegetable is NOT allowed into the United States in passenger baggage. Every fruit or vegetable must be declared to a CBP Agriculture Specialist or CBP Officer and must be presented for inspection – regardless of its admissibility status. Fresh fruits and vegetables need to be clean and may be prohibited if they have insects or diseases. Note: See FDA Web site Food products imported from Japan and radiation safety.”

 

There’s plenty more to it, which you can read here.

 

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Johnny Jet
I used to be afraid to fly and at times even leave the house! I conquered my fear (long story) and now I travel to 20+ countries a year sharing my firsthand knowledge, tips and deals with friends, family and readers. Please sign up to our free newsletters and tell your friends!

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