As a rule Gallagher Transport always advises against importing food with used household goods and personal effects. There is nothing illegal about importing food; there is simply a risk of examination by Agriculture agents that could result in storage charges due to the delay as well as confiscation. Worst case scenario the food would be ordered back from which it came at the shipper’s expense.
If your shipper insists on packing their pantry there are a few suggestions to help ensure an Agriculture inspection will have fewer and hopefully no issues:
- Make sure the food is commercially packaged – homemade containers should not be used
- Try not to send partial products e.g. a ½ eaten box of cereal; sealed packaging preferred
- Ingredient labels need to be easily found and are preferred in English – if the agent cannot discern what is in the package they generally throw it out immediately
- Only send a reasonable amount – 5 pounds of tea is reasonable but 50 pounds of tea in a personal shipment may appear to be for commercial resale to an importing agent
Wine collections and other alcoholic beverages are commonly imported with used household goods and personal effects. Import duty and tax at the Federal level will be accounted for through your Customs Clearance but do keep in mind that some states as well as the District of Columbia will require excise tax to be collected as well. This needs to be taken care of prior to the shipment’s arrival.
Gallagher Transport suggests two things when importing wine/alcohol:
- Have the importer confirm in writing with a signature on the alcohol inventory that those items are for personal use only and are not for resale
- Always try to ship the wine and alcohol with used household goods and/or personal effects – alcohol being imported without used goods will appear to be commercial in nature