Requirements for Shipping Food Internationally

Written by jordan whitehouse
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Requirements for Shipping Food Internationally
Check the proper regulations before you send those tomatoes to someone outside the United States. (Dougal Waters/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

The requirements for shipping food internationally are often difficult to find or even understand. This is because each country has different rules and regulations for accepting food, and countries sometimes don't publish those regulations in visible areas. The U.S. has some fantastic resources that will likely give you the information you seek.

Country of Destination Requirements

Each country that you could potentially send food to will have specific restrictions on food that can enter that country. Check the "Index of Countries and Localities" on the United States Postal Service website for the most up-to-date information (see References). When you select a country, a new window will open, telling you which foods you are not allowed to ship to that country.

United States Customs

To ensure that your food items will clear the United States Customs service, fill out all of the necessary paperwork and attach that paperwork to your food package. This customs paperwork will ask you to list specifically what type of food you are shipping, how much of that food is included, what the approximate value of the food is, and whether the food will be used for commercial use or if it is a gift.

Shipping and Packaging

Depending on what type of food you are sending, you must ensure that it is packaged properly. If it is not packaged properly, the food may not clear customs or be allowed to enter the country of destination. Seal all of the food you are sending in airtight, plastic containers. This will allow the food to last longer, stay fresh, and avoid any moulding. Make sure that you write any necessary information about the food on the front of the box that you are shipping the food in. If the food is perishable, write this clearly on the box. Perishable items will be shipped differently than non-perishable food items.

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