Food and medicines in the US

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Lluis Enric Mayans

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  • Food
  • Alcol
  • Tobacco
  • Medicines

Until a few decades ago theAmerica was seen as a goal for a few: crossing the borders of the New World was a privilege for a very small class of people who could afford to pay expensive and complicated routes, while today a trip to the United States is accessible to a large slice of the population and, according to ISTAT data, in 2015 3,2% of Spaniards traveled to the USA.

The United States has very strict rules for the entry of food, alcohol and medicines, measures aimed above all to avoid possible contamination.


When you want to enter the United States with food for personal use, it is important to keep the information that regulates everything at hand, bearing in mind that the aim is to preserve, in any case, the health of the community, the environment and animals. .

È necessario declare all food products. Failure to declare may result in up to $ 10.000 in fines and penalties.

They are generally eligible

  • condiments and sauces that do not contain meat ingredients;
  • olive oil and other vegetable oils;
  • bread, biscuits, crackers, cakes, cereal bars, cereals and other baked goods;
  • candy and chocolate;
  • cheese, butter, yogurt, sour cream and the like, feta cheese, Brie, Camembert, cheeses in brine, mozzarella and buffalo mozzarella, "liquid" cheeses (such as ricotta);
  • canned goods and products in vacuum-packed jars (always excluding meat and poultry products);
  • fish and seafood;
  • dried fruit;
  • milk and dairy products intended for infants or very young children, but in reasonable quantities relative to use for several days. However, milk and dairy products from goats must be accompanied by a USDA import permit if they come from regions classified as having foot and mouth disease or over cattle;
  • powdered drinks, sealed in the original containers with the ingredients listed in English;
  • fruit juices e You;
  • coffee, spices, (except citrus leaves, lemongrass, fruit and vegetable seeds);
  • honey, but only if intended for human use;
  • noodles e ramen that have no meat or eggs in the ingredients;
  • rice, except that coming from areas where the presence of the Khapra beetle;
  • flour, mushrooms (without land), nights and nuts without shells.

They are not allowed

  • cheeses from countries affected by foot and mouth disease; for cheeses containing meat, the country of origin must be evaluated;
  • Coca leaves, barberry and citrus leaves;
  • meat, milk, eggs, poultry, and by-products, which are prohibited or limited, depending on the types of diseases that occur in the country of origin, from Spain it is not possible to bring foods containing pork

Travelers will be able to check the general eligibility of fruits and vegetables consulting the APHIS FAVIR (Fruits and Vegetables Import Requirements) database, which will provide details on the type of product, clarifying whether a inspection or if there is a clear ban.

Fresh products must be clean and free of insects and, for those coming from Japan, there are further radiation countermeasures.

Fruits and vegetables grown in Canada they are generally admissible if they have the “talking” labels. The same is not true for fruit bought in Canada but not from the country itself. Even for meat from this part of America the restrictions are lower than in the other cases, but still not absent.

For the Mexico, on the other hand, there are other limitations due to the presence ofExotic Newcastle Disease.

All commercial and personal imports of products involving endangered species and others wild animals are subject to FWS authorization requirements.

In any case, it is advisable to always consult the databases because we are talking about an enormous number of products and restrictions which, depending on the health of the individual countries, could change suddenly.


In general, a liter of alcohol per person it can be brought to the United States by travelers over 21 without paying any duty. Those from the US Virgin Islands or other Caribbean countries are also entitled to something more. Additional quantities they can be introduced, although they will be subject to federal excise duties, which will be ascertained and collected upon entry.

There is no federal limit on the amount of alcohol that a traveler can bring with them to the US for personal use, but large quantities could raise suspicions about the possible commercial nature of the import, which includes controls and the obligation of a tax.Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which is a license required for all commercial imports.


A traveler can bring up to 100 cigars and 200 cigarettes. Cuba makes a case for itself, so for that juncture please refer to the consultation of New Regulations for Cuba of the Department of the Treasury.

Additional cigars and cigarettes can enter the country, but will be subject to taxation.

Once every 31 days a resident returning from a trip to American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or the Virgin Islands of the Member States can import 1.000 cigarettes (5 cartons), of which no more than 200 purchased elsewhere.


Introduce to the USA prescribed medications is allowed, but only if stored in their original containers with a printed doctor's prescription. It is advisable to bring with you only the amount of drugs actually needed for the period of stay. If the medications or devices are not in the original containers you must have a copy of the prescription or a letter from your doctor.

If you are traveling with of medical devicessuch as needles or oxygen cylinders, which could be a safety or safety concern for others, be sure to have a copy of the prescription for these items signed by your doctor.

However, please refer to the Security Administration to inquire about any additional requirements that may be required.

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