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Importing Food
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A Provocative Description of the Pacific Northwest

Border Crossing

Importing Food and Food Products Into the USA

Disclaimer: This information is provided as a service to our visitors and no guarantee is made as to its completeness or correctness. All information should be independently verified with the relevant authorities.

Visitors are required to declare all food products and plants upon entry.

The United States maintains strict control over the importation of fresh and processed food products, particularly when it comes to meat, fruit and vegetables.

Meat and meat bi-products are generally prohibited from non-commercial importation.

Fruit and vegetables are carefully monitored to prohibit the introduction of agricultural pests and diseases. The U.S. maintains that the unmonitored importation of fruits and vegetables from other countries increases the risk of infestation by invasive species. Like Canada, the U.S. also restricts or limits imports based on its commercial industries, which include apple, peach, and other fruit in states like Washington and Oregon.

From time to time, agricultural alerts may also affect the importation of certain fruits or vegetables. It is best to declare ALL of your belongings at the border. The border official may ask you to describe the origin of certain items and will then decide whether they can be imported or whether they present a risk.

The U.S. imposes stiff fines for any prohibited fruits or vegetables that are imported without authorization. U.S. border officials do not take kindly to discovering that one "forgotten" piece of fruit in the middle of the suitcase, so travelers are encouraged to be sure to declare all food products before entering the country.

Some plants can be imported from Canada; however, others may require a special import permit. for more specific information, contact the United States Department of Agriculture (APHIS) website.

More Information

U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) telephone numbers for customer service:

  • Local: 202-354-1000

  • Toll-free (from US): 1-877-227-5511.

Also see telephone numbers listed under "Ports of Entry". For additional information, please visit either of the following web sites:

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)

U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP)

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