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Sending Chocolate by Post to the US? 
25th-Nov-2009 03:23 am
Recent chat on chocolate and the like reminded me I might want to send some US friends some British chocolate as gifts this year, but I remember reading something about needing to jump through extra hoops when sending food-stuffs, beyond just filling in the usual customs form/label that sticks to the outside of the package. Its so long since I sent anything edible across, I'm just not sure any more.

Can anyone tell me more about this - would hate to either cause trouble for the recipient, or have my parcel of goodies go astray thanks to its (tasty) contents. Logic suggests a couple of bars of chocolate travelling overseas to a US friend shouldn't be an issue for anybody, but logic and customs don't always intersect!
25th-Nov-2009 03:34 am (UTC)
I've sent chocolate to the US before without any problems and just listed "chocolate" on the customs form. I've received chocolate from the UK also with just "chocolate" on the customs form without any problems.
26th-Nov-2009 12:07 am (UTC)
Brilliant thanks -I was concerned the rules had changed but it looks like they just changed back. Now to plot what to send to whom :)
25th-Nov-2009 03:36 am (UTC)
I've never tried bars of chocolate, but a friend and I sent various types of biscuits back and forth a few years for Christmas without any problem. I would assume that as long as you're not sending giant crates of it, and you're declaring everything, it shouldn't be a problem.
26th-Nov-2009 12:07 am (UTC)
thanks :)
25th-Nov-2009 03:59 am (UTC)
I sent a US friend half a dozen chocolate bars a couple of months ago. Wrote "6 chocolate bars" on the sticker, ticked the "Gift/Cadeau" box, handed over parcel at the post office. It all arrived intact and in a reasonable time with no problem at all.

Chocolate doesn't seem to cause any problems. I've also had chocolate manage the trip between here and Canada, and have had it sent to me from Australia. I've never had any difficulty.

Edited at 2009-11-25 04:01 am (UTC)
25th-Nov-2009 04:05 am (UTC)
Same. I just sent some to my nieces and just wrote "chocolate (2)".
26th-Nov-2009 12:08 am (UTC)
Brilliant, good to know, the Post Office website was talking about new rules and online forms and I thought, "Eep!". Happy to un-eep :)
26th-Nov-2009 03:00 am (UTC)
I had a brief "eep" moment too on seeing this page on the Royal Mail site. Then I noticed the crucial bit:

"This applies to any manufactured food or drink for either humans or animals but does not apply to homemade or manufactured foods being sent as a personal gift to individual people in the USA but you should clearly indicate this on the Customs form that this the case."

Had it not been for that exemption for personal gifts, I think a lot of us would have been in trouble!
26th-Nov-2009 01:57 pm (UTC)
You know, your icon is *very* distracting... :)
26th-Nov-2009 03:34 pm (UTC)
*Grins* I know. I try not to use it when I'm hungry...
25th-Nov-2009 06:53 am (UTC)
As noted by others, chocolate isn't one of the foodstuffs that raise a flag. You should be good to go.
26th-Nov-2009 12:08 am (UTC)
Great, thanks :)
25th-Nov-2009 07:21 am (UTC)
I've sent choccies too (and a LOT of other food items, including Christmas puds and rum/brandy butter too) and never had any issues. Just write on the customs form what you're sending and it's all good.

Postal strikes notwithstanding.
26th-Nov-2009 12:08 am (UTC)
Oh don't tempt fate with talk of strikes! Hmm, should check last posting dates, come to think...
25th-Nov-2009 07:57 am (UTC)
I send my family Roses chocolates every year and have never had a problem.
25th-Nov-2009 08:29 am (UTC)
I've sent chocolate over loads of times. It's things like honey and haggis you should avoid. Putting the chocolate in separate plastic bags can help keep it clean if one of the bars decides to melt and go mushy.
25th-Nov-2009 09:27 am (UTC)
"It's things like honey and haggis you should avoid."

*Lightbulb appears above head.*

Oh hello, is that Walkers crisps? Hi. Yes, I've got an idea for a new flavour sensation...have you got a pen? You're going to want to write this one down.
25th-Nov-2009 10:12 am (UTC)
Oh God.
25th-Nov-2009 10:16 am (UTC)
Think of it as a slightly more upmarket version of their "Builder's Breakfast" variety.

25th-Nov-2009 11:20 am (UTC)
Haha, nice. :)
25th-Nov-2009 03:10 pm (UTC)
...I am so disturbed by the Fish and Chips photo. Not just at the idea of gross, gross fish and chips crisps, but because .... that is a vulgar looking fish and the chip looks like a Twinkie.
25th-Nov-2009 01:03 pm (UTC)
When Haggis Season arrives, I will try to remember that as an experiment to make. Preferably heather honey, I think.
26th-Nov-2009 12:10 am (UTC)
That could work nicely, actually.. or do parsnips in honey to go with ('nips instead of neeps... :> )
25th-Nov-2009 08:50 pm (UTC)
That would be one heck of a flavour!
26th-Nov-2009 12:09 am (UTC)
Good plan on the plastic bags, and no, no plans to send haggis. I thought the rules had been tightened but looks like all is fine again, phew.
25th-Nov-2009 11:17 am (UTC)
As long as you write it on the customs sticker, you'll be fine.

You can pay extra for chocolate to be sent refrigerated especially during the summer months and southern states as I had one friend have liquid chocolates arrive.

Some of the things you can't send over are seeds, fruits and nuts.
25th-Nov-2009 11:51 am (UTC)
Some of the things you can't send over are seeds, fruits and nuts.

Though [Cadbury] Fruit & Nut is fine. Sorry, couldn't resist that...
26th-Nov-2009 12:11 am (UTC)
A good reason to send it in the winter, liquid chocolates not a good gifr, poor friend!
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26th-Nov-2009 12:11 am (UTC)
Excellent, thanks, looks like I was fretting for no reason..
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26th-Nov-2009 12:13 am (UTC)
Good to know thanks - they did change the rules for a while, I hadn't misremembered but it seems all is sane and sensible once more and transatlantic chocolate exchange can continue without problem...
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26th-Nov-2009 12:12 am (UTC)
Yeah, I'm wondering how to get Flakes to travel and not arrive pre-crumbled!
25th-Nov-2009 05:23 pm (UTC)
The first time I tried to send food to the US a few years ago, my local Post Office told me it wasn't allowed and I had to fill out an form first. There's been some law about doing this for some time and it included food sent as gifts.

From what I can gather, this law has finally - in June this year - been amended to say that sending food as a gift into the US no longer requires filling out a Prior Notice form provided you send it personally! So if you buy stuff at Sainsbury's and post it, that's fine, but if you order something say from an online shop and have it posted directly, then it's not.

Info from here: Regulatory action should not be considered by FDA and CBP when there is no prior notice in the following scenarios, or for certain gift packs, when the PN identifies the packer rather than the manufacturer(s):
* Non-commercial imports by non-commercial shippers, irrespective of the type of carrier, including food in household goods, including military and civilian transfers; food purchased and shipped home by U.S.-based travelers (and not by a commercial establishment); and gifts purchased at commercial establishments but shipped by the purchaser, not the establishment;
26th-Nov-2009 12:06 am (UTC)
Aha - should have known you'd know. The Post Office haven't updated their website so still had stuff about prioer notification but I couldn't find said form at the FDA site so was getting all confuzzled...
26th-Nov-2009 03:06 am (UTC)
I think your local PO may have got their facts wrong. I've sent chocolate to the US at least once a year for several years now, and never once had to complete anything but the usual Customs sticker. I've never even seen a Prior Notice Form! American friends sending chocolate to me over the years haven't had difficulties either. This Royal Mail page, which mentions the gift exemption, has been up for some time now, certainly since well before June.

(I post such parcels at a full-blown Crown Office, which may or may not help. I can't actually remember whether I've tried my local sub-post office for this.)

Edited at 2009-11-26 03:09 am (UTC)
26th-Nov-2009 01:53 pm (UTC)
I think the gift exemption bit should be a little clearer, I misread it as just home-made stuff being exempt, hence my concerns..
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