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Sending Food to the USA

There are a range of reasons that individuals may want to send food across the pond to family and friends in the USA, and whilst some items can certainly be sent, you need to be aware that there are restrictions on what will and will not be allowed through customs. Here are some tips on how to avoid trouble whilst sending food to the USA.

Requirements for Sending Food to the USA

Requirements for Sending Food to the USA

Sending food to the USA is subject to an uncommon (and strict) restriction. When you send food to the USA (either commercially or as a gift), you are required to fill in a “Prior Notice of Imported Foods” and submit this through the FDA. You can find out more about this process and how to submit the paperwork here.

The rules are most strict for sending food for commercial reasons, however you still need to take care not to violate any restrictions if shipping a gift to family or friends. You can find out more about your requirements regarding the “Prior Notice of Imported Foods” when sending for non-commercial purposes here.

The one benefit of being required to submit this paperwork for approval first is that the FDA will be able to tell you if the goods are restricted!

What is Considered Non-Commercial?

What is Considered Non-Commercial?

There are some situations where the FDA’s approval is not required if you are sending food as a gift. The requirements for this however are as follows.

The parcel must be:

  • Sent from a private individual
  • Sent from a residential address
  • Addressed to a private individual
  • Addressed to a residential address

It must also:

  • Be declared as a personal gift not for resale
  • Be a small quantity of food
  • Be store bought food that is non-perishable and sealed in original packaging
What Food Can I Send to the USA?

What Food Can I Send to the USA?

Whilst there are restrictions around what can and can’t be sent to the USA, there are some common items that can be sent. Common foods that meet customs requirements include:

  • Chocolate and sweets
  • Biscuits (as long as they are store bought and packaged)
  • Tinned goods
  • Spreads and preservatives

Before sending anything, however, always check with the FDA as to whether you need prior approval!

Top Tips

Top Tips

Before sending anything, however, always check with the FDA as to whether you need prior approval!

  • Make sure to get prior approval from the FDA if required
  • List all food items and the quantities they come in clearly
  • Give detailed descriptions, including brand names were possible
  • Avoid using any local nicknames customs may not be familiar with
  • Make sure the invoice is securely attached to the parcel
  • Include another copy inside in case anything happens to the external copy

What Food Can't I Send to the USA?

As seen by their procedures regarding sending food to the USA, they are strict about what food is allowed over their borders and how this is allowed to be sent.

Example items that cannot be sent include:

  • Liquids over 1 litre
  • Alcohol (unless by an approved company)
  • Coffee
  • Nuts, seeds or cereals
  • Fruit, vegetables or flowers

You should also check restrictions on:

  • Products containing meat, fish or dairy
  • Tea and spices
  • Food prepared at home

Before Sending Food to the USA

As seen, there are many food items that can be sent to the USA, however customs and the FDA do have strict restrictions in order to keep out anything potentially harmful. Before packaging your food parcel to send to the USA, make sure that the goods that you are planning to send are not prohibited. You can find out more about sending food to the USA with the FDA here, and through the US Customs & Border Protection here.

When you are ready to send a parcel to the USA, compare prices for renowned couriers with Worldwide Parcel Services! When you book with us, you can benefit from full international tracking all the way to the parcel’s destination in the USA, and £100 free cover as standard. Our great prices mean that you can send a parcel to the USA from as little as £27.34, and have it arrive in 2 to 6 days!


Can I send alcohol to the USA?

Whilst you can technically send alcohol to the USA, the only people who can do so are companies permitted to ship to and sell alcohol in the USA.

Can I send teabags to the USA?

As a general rule, prepared and packaged teabags can be sent to the USA. However, always check with the FDA before packaging your parcel.

Can I send coffee to the USA?

Sadly not! Coffee is prohibited from being sent to the USA.

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