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Jan 8, 2012 03:26 PM

Bringing food into Mexico

Traveling to Cancun with children for Yeshiva week. Will have an apartment with kitchen facilities. Heard that meat with a USDA stamp is ok but in previous trips to Mexico, our meat was confiscated but the poultry was allowed.

Anyone been lately? What was your experience? Did it make a difference if meat was raw or cooked (e.g., frozen meatballs in sauce)?

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  1. The beef is iffy I think. According to the Chabad site only poultry:

    5 Replies
    1. re: ferret

      I'm going on the 18th and have spoken to a number of folks. One had two boxes of prepacked Noah's Ark food confiscated. I was told prepacked chicken/turkey deli (Costco Meal Mart packets) is OK, and you may be able to get away with the prepacked pastrami and corned beef.

      I think you can get away with it - my daughter last year took a couple of London broils and was OK, but don't invest a huge amount of money, otherwise you run the risk of getting it confiscated.

      I traded e mails on the weekend with the Chabad Rabbi who is still not sure if he is providing Shabbat meals the weekend of the 20th or not as his wife is due imminently, and told me to check next week. They are having services at the Avalon Grand Hotel which is on the strip. It's a schlep as I am at the Westin down the other end of the strip, but if they have meals, I may consider staying there for one night.

      If you check the link that ferret provides above you can see what food you find at Walmart and Costco. My plan is to bring some Turkey, Cheese, Bread, Tuna, and then wing it from there with what I can find at the Walmart. Will also bring a Sandwich maker.

      1. re: njkosher

        we are also going to westin during the yeshiva week but arriving Sunday h and regularly emailing the chabad rav. feel free to email me to share info.

        1. re: shimby

          You do realize that njkosher's posts about going to Mexico were from a year ago, don't you?

          1. re: queenscook

            Sorry, missed the Jan 8 post otherwise I would have replied sooner. Yep was a year ago, but I think there has been enough additional info for this year to help you out. I would try and get the Rabbi's cell number so that you can reach him as last year, things were a little fluid.

      2. re: ferret

        If you are travelling to Mexico, check the website these pages specifically: permitted items regulated items

        *There is an allowance for fresh, refrigerated and frozen beef and poultry products through Jan 15th. See my message below. You may contact the Senasica office for possible special considerations after that date.

      3. Contact the Chief Rabbi of Mexico and see if he can get you a permit/letter to bring the food in.

        2 Replies
        1. re: mamaleh

          Interesting idea but I'd be afraid that the line worker in customs would not follow the letter and would confiscate my stuff nonetheless... I think my kids will have to live without meat unless I bring meatballs and try to convince customs that they are chicken.

          1. re: daphnar

            Red meat and meat products is on Mexico's list of Regulated Products, not on the list of Not Permitted products see

            I'm not an advocate of red meat consumption, but if it is worth your time, you might be able to send them an e-mail and get permission ahead of time to bring it in so it is not up to the discretion of the line workers

        2. Maybe if you get the meat packed in vaccuum sealed plastic, as many butchers now offer, you'/ll have an easier time getting it in.

          1. You are correct. USDA stamps on packaged poultry items are allowed, but regulated. No beef items are allowed into Mexico, not even if they are vaccuum sealed or frozen. You are not allowed to bring any homemade food items such as meatballs.
            There is a Walmart and a Costco which import items from the US which you can go to for all your food items such as meat, dairy and fresh fruit and vegetables.

            Have a wonderful trip and try to avoid problems by considering doing your shopping when you arrive locally.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ALinPV

              Generally, outside of neighborhoods with kosher-keeping communities, it's nearly impossible to find kosher meat, worldwide. While the average person might be able to stock up once they got to Cancun, the OP can't - they need to bring meat, or go vegetarian for the week.

            2. You have a 90% chance of getting the green light when you press the button at the customs station at the Cancun airport, so a bit of a gamble but an acceptable risk, IMO.