Can I send non-perishable food abroad?

When it comes to sending food items abroad via courier, the rules are relatively simple: You cannot send any food items that are classed as perishables (things that can go off or that can spoil during transit). This is the most important rule of all, and as long as you stick to this rule, you will be just fine.

What food items can be shipped?

  • Food must be in the original manufacturers packaging.

  • Food packaging must be sealed and not tampered with in any way.

  • Food labels must list all ingredients.

  • Foods must have a shelf life of longer than 6 months from the date of shipping.

All foods that have a shelf life of fewer than 6 months will be classed as perishables, and cannot be sent via courier, even if store-bought.

How to send food items

  • Don’t send food items that must be kept in a temperature-controlled environment in transit (refrigerated, frozen or chilled) as they will spoil by the time they reach their destination.

  • Don’t expect your food parcel to be kept ‘this way up’ during transit.

  • Don’t send foods that are restricted for import into the destination country.

  • Always ensure your food items have a label clearly displaying all the ingredients and the ‘use by date’ because customs authorities may check these upon import.

  • Always package your food items so that they can withstand the parcel being placed upside down during transit, and always wrap individual items separately inside your parcel for optimum protection.

  • Always check the import restrictions in the country you are shipping to, to avoid sending foods that are prohibited at the destination. If you are unsure of how to check this information, then contact Parcel2Go for expert advice.

Can I send homemade food?

No, homemade foods fall into the category of perishable foods as they do not contain preservatives and will therefore go off or spoil during transit.

All food items classed as perishables are not permitted for transport via courier, but here are some useful tips for how you can still get your loved one’s favourite home-made foods to them and spread a bit of joy;

  • Don’t try and cheat the system by passing off your home-made foods as store-bought items as there are penalties in place if you do.

  • Don’t forget that some countries may allow certain foods to be imported into their country, so always check in advance that the items you are sending are not classed as prohibited or restricted for import to avoid delays with your delivery.

  • Do send your recipes for your home-cooked foods so your loved one can re-create their favourite treats in their own kitchen.

  • Do include store-bought ‘baking kits’ and utensils that may come in handy when cooking your recipe.

  • Do include packets of store-bought ‘cake mix’ so all your loved one has to do is add water to enjoy a delicious spotted dick pudding that reminds them of home.

  • Do include store-bought treats such as their favourite chocolates, crisps and sweets that your loved one cannot buy in the destination country.

Customs Clearance for your Food Parcel

If you are shipping outside of the UK your parcel will have to go through customs clearance and will need to be accompanied by a customs invoice. Parcel2Go will help you create your customs invoice when you book online, all documentation will be provided at the end of the booking process.

How to Clear Customs:

  • Don’t assume that customs officials in the country you are shipping to will know what you mean by ‘spotted dick’, so steer away from using local language when preparing your customs invoice.

  • Don’t forget to provide the value of each food item on the customs invoice.

  • Do list all the food items on your customs invoice and include the brand name, so it’s clear to customs officials exactly what’s inside your parcel.

  • Do provide a detailed description of your foods; Instead of writing ‘Spotted Dick’ you should write ‘Spotted Dick Cake Dessert’, for example.

  • Do place an extra copy of the customs invoice inside your parcel to speed up customs clearance in the event that the original invoice is separated from your parcel during transit.

  • Do expect customs official in the destination country to contact your receiver for more information about the parcel; in some cases your receiver may have to obtain an import licence or pay local import duty and tax before the parcel can clear customs and proceed for delivery.

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