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Restricted Food

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Singapore
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Restricted Food

Hi,

I'm travelling to SF in september. I'm interested in bringing in some food (biscuits, instant noodles) for me to snack on (...i'm on a tight budget)...is there any restrictions on the kind of food i can bring into the US?

Thanks much!

San Francisco
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1. Re: Restricted Food

No, as long as all you're bringing is only dried and packaged foods then it should be fine. Only problem is they've gotten a little more strict lately, and if your instant noodles are say, chicken flavored, they may get thrown out.

Edited: 30 August 2010, 05:37
San Francisco
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2. Re: Restricted Food

Instant noodles in SF are about $.30 each or less, especially in Chinatown ... buy them here and save the space. (Even Safeway has sales 10/$1.)

--
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3. Re: Restricted Food

Unless we happen to have a US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) person lurking around here, this forum probably isn't the best place to research this kind question, as the answers can be quite complex.

In general restrictions center around (a) fruits, vegetables, and similar unprocessed plant parts, and (b) meats. You can find a summary of the rules on the US Customs and Border Protection US CBP website, specifically https:/…food . This is a case where the US CBP is enforcing another agencies rules, specifically the USDA APHIS's -- they've got additional information here (warning, you have to do some combing -- the page is a mixture of links to both commercial and casual import rules and split between animal and plant products): www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/index.shtml .

Los Angeles
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4. Re: Restricted Food

I'd say if it is food, you'll have to so state on your California ag form - but when they see it's packaged, they'll probably let it in.

It's true that you can buy them everywhere here for ten to twenty five cents or so.

San Francisco
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5. Re: Restricted Food

I'm not a USDA expert or anything, but I do travel internationally a fair bit and quite often it's the SIN-SFO route.

You can declare it on the customs form and when they ask you if you've brought in any food, just make sure to specify everything is dried and packaged. So absolutely no to fresh fruits/veggies and meats, but packaged goods are fine. I've brought back everything from M&S biscuits to jars of kaya and never had a problem. Only thing that got taken away was the chicken flavored instant pho noodles (long story).

So yeah, you'll be okay. :)

San Francisco...
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6. Re: Restricted Food

As the others have said, you shouldn't have a problem with most snack type foods as long as they're not liquid-based. There are many, many stores in the US that sell this sort of thing at very low cost. Look for the Ranch 99 supermarket chain, for example. It might be better to stock up here rather than going to the expense of bringing them from home.

Remember the SF Chronicle's "Bargain Bites" section for very inexpensive restaurants.

http://www.sfgate.com/bargainbites

Have a great trip!

San Francisco...
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7. Re: Restricted Food

To be on the safe side do not bring any homemade foods especially meat products . Store bought things are usually allowed.

Mission Viejo...
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8. Re: Restricted Food

There's a huge Asian influence in California, especially SF. Food is very inexpensive by world standards. You won't have any problem buying the items you list at any supermarket in the city (most have a special Asian section). And you will get to try new and somewhat different flavors rather than "home" food, which is one reason why we all travel. Don't waste luggage space...buy it when you arrive. I'm sure the local SF residents can recommend specific supermarkets if you say what area of the city you will be in.

Odense
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9. Re: Restricted Food

Is it all right to bring food to the aircraft (and eat it there) or will there be any sort of control before boarding the aircraft ?

San Francisco, Ca
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10. Re: Restricted Food

>>Is it all right to bring food to the aircraft (and eat it there) or will there be any sort of control before boarding the aircraft ?<<

I believe other than security concerns (ie, liquids, gels, etc. which could include jelly, honey, cake frosting) there may not be any other restrictions prior to boarding or on board the aircraft. But your local airport or airline may be the best source to answer this question.

In my personal experience, food restrictions are primarily at your destination. (And I did recently bring in fresh fruit to California by car from Oregon -- and later Nevada -- we declared it and it was allowed in. They didn't even ask to see it!)