How To Bring Frozen Food Through US Customs

By Subodh / March 31, 2015

As per the prevailing rules and regulations in the U.S., passengers are allowed to carry solid food along with them on the plane. However, these have to be from the permissible list of foods.

If you intend carrying solid food, it is best to use insulated containers and pack them properly for safety and security reasons. Just to make your life easier, here are some details about the procedure, legal formalities and packing tips so that you can easily bring frozen food through US customs.

Procedure to Bring Frozen Food

US Customs

Frozen food is easy to pass through the US Customs. You can carry the food in your hand luggage or check-in luggage. However, certain food items, like meat, are not allowed to be brought into the US. This is because of safety and health reasons, as meats might carry transmissible disease or insect that could prove harmful for livestock and produce in the country.

Packaging

Make sure you pack the frozen food properly. Also, it is imperative to note frozen foods are allowed into the US from just certain countries. Check the U.S. Customs website to get a list of these countries.

It is important the food is frozen completely. There should be no trace of liquid in the container or the customs authorities will not permit you to carry the food.

Customs Declaration

The next step is filling in customs declaration carefully and properly. Easy and clear instructions are provided on the declaration. So follow them to the T. Don’t forget to sign the declaration.

Approach Concerned Officers

Further, approach concerned officers at the customs. Generally, you can approach them at their office located after passport control. This is the place where they receive declarations filled by passengers.

Present the filled customs declaration to the officers. This is done to inform the officers that you are carrying frozen foods. The customs officer would ask you to wait until the inspection is over. You can accompany the customs officer to inspection desk, if you want. You might be asked to open and present the food in the container.

The officer may also ask for proof of origin. Therefore, don’t forget to carry it along. After the customs officer is satisfied with the documents and the frozen food, you will be allowed to take the frozen food beyond the boundaries of the airport.

Packaging Tips

Besides the legal formalities and permissions, it is also important to be careful with the packing of frozen food you are planning to bring into the U.S. Here are some packaging tips that will prove to be extremely beneficial.

  • Make sure the container used for packaging has a tightly sealed lid. You might need to thaw the food to some extent.
  • It is recommended to use storage boxes made from hard plastic.
  • If you have packed the food in plastic storage bags, it is wise to put the bag containing food in another bag. Just ensure the second bag is larger than the first bag to prevent leakage. This plastic bag with food should be stored in the freezer till you leave for the airport.
  • When travelling to airport, it is recommended to use a cooler, gel ice packs or dry ice to maintain the temperature of the frozen food. You can ask at the airline office about the permissible amount of ice that can be carried along.
  • If you are using a cooler, make sure to place gel or dry ice packs around the food. Close the cooler lid. However, sealing the cooler lid is not recommended, as you should let carbon dioxide escape from the cooler. If you feel that the lid is not secured, you can use string or rope to secure the cooler. Attach a luggage tag and check in the cooler just like you would check in other luggage.