When living overseas, there’s nothing quite like receiving a care-package from your loved ones, full of home comforts in the form of food. If you have a loved one living in the United States, you might want to let them know that you’re thinking about them by sending them some of their favourite home treats. Thankfully, sending food to the US isn’t as complicated as it might sound, as long as you take the time to do thorough research and comply with all of the appropriate regulations. We’re detailing some of the most important things to know.
1) Foods must gave a shelf life of longer than six months from the date of shipping
All food items that are classed as perishables cannot be transported to the US, in fact they are not permitted for transport via courier as a general rule. This is because they could spoil during transit, especially if there are any delays with the service for any reason, or if there are any hold ups during customs clearance. Sadly, this does also apply to home-made foods, as they tend to fall under this category due to the fact that they do not contain any preservatives. Trying to pass your home-made foods off as store bought items is a no, no. If you are caught, there will be penalties for doing so. As tempting as it may be, instead, opt for sending your loved ones recipes for their favourite home-cooked foods so they can recreate them, while also sending them their favourite store bought treats they cannot get in the US.
2) Don’t expect your parcel to be kept ‘this way up’ during transit
Be careful when sending delicate foods via courier to the US, that should be kept ‘this way up’. Unless booked with a specialised courier, food parcels to the US will be treated in the same manner as any other shipment. Marking the package as ‘fragile’ will serve as a reminder to those handling the parcel that it should be handled with care, however, do keep in mind that it will still be transported through a standard courier network alongside other heavy and large items. It will travel along conveyor belts and will be placed in and out of vans when forwarded for delivery. As such, it may not arrive in the same state it was sent.
3) Package your food hamper securely
The number one reason for parcels arriving to the destination country in a poor condition is, generally, due to insufficient packaging. Therefore, to ensure your food shipment to the US arrives promptly and free from any damage, be sure to package it securely enough to be transported. Wrap each item of food individually, before wrapping it again in bubble wrap to provide impact protection. Fill any voids of space in your package with leftover bubble wrap. For your outer packaging, it is always best to invest in a new, double-walled cardboard box. Not only are they affordable, but they are a great choice for shipping all types of items. Finish by sealing the box with plenty of packaging tape, making sure to secure all flaps and seams.
4) Some items are highly restricted
Before preparing your food shipment to the US, it’s important to keep in mind that some food items are highly restricted. This applies to most countries throughout the world, however, each and every country has their specific regulations when it comes to food. Generally speaking, so long as the food item is in its original manufacturer’s packaging, is sealed and has not been tampered with in any way, and has a shelf life of longer than six months, it can be sent to the US. However, if you’re unsure, you should refer to the official FDA guidelines.
Written by Stuart Cooke, blog editor at NI Parcels, an online courier comparison service based in Belfast, Northern Ireland.