Can I Send Food Internationally? Rules and Tips

How to ship food abroad: Europe, UK and internationally

We know that sending food abroad is a topic that brings up a lot of questions – but we are here to answer them all for you. Read on to understand the restrictions of sending food locally or internationally and find out how to pack food for shipping in the safest way possible.

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EXPERT TIPS

What to know when sending food internationally

Sending food internationally may be tricky if you are not yet familiar with the courier’s best practices and regulations. Here are a few tips on what to avoid when sending food items through the mail or courier:

  • Control the rules of the courier and the local legislation to make sure the shipment you are sending are allowed.
  • Avoid including liquids as they are more prone to leakage and are not accepted by many couriers.
  • Avoid shipping homemade food items because they have very little durability to withstand the transit time.
  • Avoid sending goods that cannot be turned upside down as the carriers cannot guarantee always to have one side up.
  • Avoid shipping perishable food items that need to be refrigerated unless you book a service specialising in this type of transport.
  • Food is typically considered as non-perishable if it has a shelf life of more than 6 months.

SHIPPING REGULATIONS

Updated regulations for sending food abroad

The current international food shipping restrictions are different for business and individual shippers. Read below the general regulations for sending food items overseas by courier or mail, but bear in mind that you should additionally comply with the local legislation when shipping such products.

Food shipping regulations for businesses

Licensed companies working in the consumer products sector can ship all types of food internationally, provided they comply with the destination country’s safety, packaging, labelling, and import regulations. They must also have all the necessary certificates and pack food items properly for shipping with authorised transporters only.

It is crucial to check whether certain products can be legally exported to another country. For instance, EU companies sending food to the UK after Brexit must know that besides general EU requirements, they must fulfil the criteria for exporting such type of goods and possess the necessary international certifications. Read more about international customs clearance procedures.

Food shipping regulations for individuals

Shipping food items internationally between individuals is much trickier because most courier companies consider these items restricted for shipping. The main reason for doing so is that food items often cause leakage, damage to parcels, and have short expiration dates. In addition, the person who decides to ship food internationally must also comply with all the restrictions imposed by the exporting and importing countries, as some food compounds or additives may be prohibited in specific destinations.

That being said, when sending food overseas, customers may find it easier to send canned and non-perishable food items. Some transporters may also accept vacuum-sealed products as they offer better protection. We strongly recommend avoiding shipping any food item that requires a temperature-controlled environment, as the standard shipping alternatives will not satisfy the necessary conditions.

PACKING GUIDE

How to pack and ship food internationally

The biggest risk when sending food items internationally the mail or by courier is the possibility of leakage or damage, not only to your parcel but to other packages travelling together. So, the best solution to avoid any trouble during transport is to pack your food items for shipping in the most secure way possible, using impermeable bags to prevent leakage and high-quality packaging materials.

To make it easier for you, follow this checklist before sending food items to someone in another country:

  1. Wrap each food item in plastic foil. Pack the items in a plastic or insulated food container.
  2. Place a cold pack under the container, if applicable. Make sure the cold packs you use cannot leak and will not damage the cardboard box or other parcels during transport.
  3. Wrap the food container with thermal bubble wrap and pack it in a sturdy cardboard box. You can also use regular bubble wrap depending on your specific items.
  4. Fill empty spaces with cushioning materials.
  5. Close the box and seal with adhesive tape.
  6. Attach the shipping label if required. You can also add a sign “Perishable” or “Handle with care” on the top.

Note: When shipping frozen food items that require a temperature-controlled environment, cold packs should never be replaced with ice or anything else that could melt or leak, causing damage.

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SHIPPING SOLUTIONS

How to ship food internationally

Since most of the items people pack when shipping food require regular-sized packages, the best options for shipping within Europe are the following:
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Please bear in mind that some courier companies may include food in their list of prohibited items. For any clarifications, please contact our team of specialists via chat.

Read more about sending specific food items overseas

We have compiled dedicated guides about shipping specific types of food internationally, including rules and limitations on their transport:

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Food items are usually restricted or prohibited for shipping. Please note that insurance may not apply.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

FAQ about how to pack and send food internationally

Do DHL, UPS and other couriers ship food internationally?

It is important to note that not all courier companies will ship food internationally. For example, DHL, FedEx, TNT, and UPS will not send packages that contain food within the content.
Each courier has specific rules and requirements for different shipments and services, so we recommend checking the rules for shipping food to another country with the designated courier for your route.
When booking Express or Regular Plus shipping services, please ensure not to include these items as the courier will refuse to collect the parcel.

How to ship food internationally as a care package?

Many customers often contact us when arranging a care package delivery to their loved ones abroad. Since you know you will be shipping at your own risk when including food items in the package, here are a few practical tips to avoid accidents during transport:
  • Choose only non-perishable goods;
  • keep each item on their industrial packaging, which is already optimised for not leaking;
  • avoid using breakable objects such as glass bottles or containers.
When sending any food item internationally, do not forget to pack them individually and make sure they are not loose within the shipping box.

Is there any insurance for shipping food items internationally?

Almost every service booked on the Eurosender platform is covered by basic insurance, which is already included in the price.
However, the insurance cover is not valid for shipments containing restricted or prohibited items, such as food. Therefore, if you decide to ship food as an individual across Europe or internationally, you do so at your own risk.

Can I ship snacks internationally by courier or via mail?

Out of all food items, snacks are amongst the easiest to be transported because they are usually non-perishable, with a long shelf life and safe industrial packaging.
Even though it is still considered restricted in most cases, many people still ship snacks internationally frequently.

Can I send homemade food overseas through the mail or courier?

Homemade food is not recommended for shipping because it has very short durability, usually of only a day or two if not properly refrigerated.
Therefore, most courier companies do not allow individuals shipping homemade food.

Can I send food to the USA by mail or courier?

Although it is possible to send food to the USA, there are specific restrictions you need to be aware of. Food items must be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before they are allowed into the USA.

How to send perishable or fresh food through the mail?

Shipping fresh or perishable foodstuffs is not recommended by postal services or couriers, as it is not possible to maintain a controlled temperature.
For this reason, fresh and perishable foods are included in the list of prohibited or restricted items by couriers. Therefore, shipping packages containing fresh foods locally or internationally is not recommended.
Take these guidelines into consideration when sending food locally or internationally. Nevertheless, please consider that following them does not guarantee that the courier company will transport your package without restriction. If you decide to send food abroad in the mail or by courier, Eurosender will not be held responsible for any damages caused by the transport of your shipment.