DH and I are vacationing in Mexico this summer, and we're staying at the same condo that we spent our honeymoon at in Sept. 1999. The condo has a kitchen, so we get to do lots of our own cooking. When we were down there a couple of years ago, I was impressed by the amount of fresh seafood available, but was very disappointed in some of the produce (esp. mushrooms-yuck!) and other fresh meats available. I knew that on my next trip, I'd either be bringing a lot with me, or if that wasn't permitted, would just live with what good quality foods were available there. Since it's kind of unclear what's allowed in the country, I started checking the Internet to see what the specific regulations are about foods for personal consumption. No luck finding anything more specific than "some foods may not be allowed." Great. So I tried the airline, and they didn't know either. I finally got someone at my local consulate to fax me the regulations. Since I had such a hard time getting the info, I thought I'd share it here:
Transporting foods for personal consumption:
Any food transported must be in original unopened package with a label stating the country of origin, either the US or Canada. The following foods are permitted:
*processed products: potatoes, legumes, cooking oils, garden vegetables, fruits, malt, & roasted coffee.
*flower or seeds: corn, tapioca, wheat, oat, rye, soy, & rice.
*dehydrated products: unshelled nuts (except walnuts produced in Texas), shelled or unshelled cashews, artisan straw (except those made from wheat), almonds, unshelled hazelnuts, salted or toasted pistachios, prunes, spices, dried medicinal herbs, ginger, carob, mushrooms, truffles.
*meat: beef, lamb, venison, or pork must be either fresh, chilled, canned, sausage, dried, cooked or processed.
*poultry: cooked or processed.
*pasteurized milk products: liquid, powdered, evaporated, and condensed milk, fresh or aged cheese, butter or cream.
I spoke with someone at the butcher shop we go to, and they said with a couple of day's notice, they can freeze our order & mark it USDA (it's usually unmarked & just wrapped in butcher paper). I'm going to assume that frozen chicken is considered processed; if it's a problem, customs will just have to toss it. I'm willing to live with the risk, 'cause we're so spoiled by the quality of product we get from White's (the butcher shop).
Hi Amanda. With the current scares going on hoof and mouth and mad cow the regs are a bit stricter than usual. You might want to talk to someone in customer service/international travel desk at the airline you use for updated info.
I am curious as to where in Mexico you are going and where you are staying Im not too far from Mexico!
Kim: We're going to Puerto Vallarta & staying at MIL's studio apartment-sized condo. It's nice having access to a place to stay so all we have to worry about is taking advantage of super cheap fares!
Anne: Thanks for the heads-up. I just had the regs faxed to me today, so I'm going to assume they're up-to-date. Since the US is prohibiting import of animal products from Europe (I don't know about whether Canada is, though) and you can only bring food products from the US or Canada, I don't think foot and mouth will play into it. Surprisingly (and disappointingly), my airline wasn't at all knowledgeable about what I can bring into Mexico as far as specific food products go.
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