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May 8, 2012 09:14 AM

What can you bring into Canada?

Hi everyone,

Not sure if this is the right board, but I live in Toronto and I'm going to Europe next week.
I want to know: Can I bring back cured meats and breads? Do I have to declare what I have?
I know I can bring hard cheeses (right?) but what about mozzarella? Has anyone brought back some of these things into Canada?

Thank you!

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  1. You can bring back mozzarella, but I don't know how well it will keep up in you luggage.
    No issue for hard-cheese, dried meat (vacuum pack) or foie gras (glass jar).

    I would not bring back bread from Europe (it will no keep in your luggage (but I've brought Montreal bagel to France more often than I can remember).

    Don't forget about the weight, especially if traveling by air (budget airlines) in Europe.

    I tend to bring back less and less foodstuff from Europe (1, 2 travel per year).

    (also, don't take my words for law, have a look at the border agency web site:



    1 Reply
    1. UPDATE: I tried to bring back vaccum packed prosciutto and prochetta and they took it when I tried to claim it. =( The cheese was ok though.

      2 Replies
      1. re: fishnetstars

        My parents live in NY and brought a picnic over the border, and their vac-pac salami was confiscated. So meat is a no-go.

        1. When I've flown in from London they often have sniffer dogs at the airport going through people's luggage, including the carry on of those waiting in line for immigration, looking for "contraband" foods. Mostly what they wound up confiscating were the meat pies that Air Canada hands out an hour or two before landing from people that weren't hungry then but figured they'd keep them for later. But they also do confiscate any meat product, like cured sausages or prosciutto, even when vacuum packed. Canned or jarred products are mostly fine but I've had them confiscate canned pate when it is from boar but not when it is from domesticated pigs.

          Duty Free limits for wine is1.5 litres per person and many people, including sometimes the immigration officers, are under the mistaken impression that this is the maximum amount you are allowed to bring into Canada, but in fact you can bring more so long as you pay the excise tax on it. There is a window to do so after you collect your luggage and before you exit the customs area.

          2 Replies
          1. re: mpad

            I regularly bring back Garlic & Honey from countries I visit and have never had anything confiscated-mind you I don't bother declaring it-in the end all they can do is take it.

            1. re: Sam Salmon

              We regularly bring back items such as honey from Europe to Canada and always declare them. Honey and jarms are fine but meat products are not.

          2. Some of it depends on where you are bringing it FROM. The best thing to do is contact Canadian Border Services Agency and ask them to send you the pamphlet concerning what you can and can't bring into the country from Europe.

            6 Replies
            1. re: PotatoHouse

              No the Best Thing you can do is to not declare anything-those small minded jerks working @ airports are just that-best not to confuse them.

              I've actually had them search my bags looking for drugs and just pass by things I know full well aren't allowed they just never noticed because they are so thick.

              1. re: Sam Salmon

                11 return trips direct US,9 returns via Canada and 2 Mexico so far in 2012 all with USDA type declarations,some significant,ALL ignored sort of says it all about the crapshoot of "getting in" with whatever.

                1. re: Sam Salmon

                  And consequences be damned, right? There are some valid reasons why some food items are not permitted to be imported on a casual basis.

                  1. re: CanadaGirl

                    Don't blame Sam Salmon

                    ALL of mine were 100% declared,all three countries.
                    Paper work 110% complete and handy.
                    I am F&B and agriculture trade,making an average of 40 North American re-entries a year for 50 years.

                    100% of the time,fill out paper work,hand customs dude paper work with all pertinent stamps etc .........AND 99.99% of the time IT IS NEVER EVEN OPENED,forget looking at it or actually READING IT.It's only 99.9% of the time dismissed,ignored in shipping pick ups.

                    2011 and so far 2012 ...51 declarations,that's correct,just,only ONE even opened.None of the others were even opened and read to determine if the ? required any or further scrutiny.

                    SOME SYSTEM ,for 50 years

                    1. re: lcool

                      I dunno, if they believe for whatever reasons that you know the rules, filled the form out and followed the proper regulations and wave you through - generally trusting in you, I don't think that is a bad system....

                      It is kind of frustrating to go through all the rigamarole if they aren't going to check, but I'd rather be waved through then have to answer the Spanish inquisition over every line item. Something that you will have to do if you are "randomly" selected for more intense scrutiny, as well as watching as some stranger unpacks, pokes and prods for secret compartments and hidden items, not being able to communicate to your travel partners or anyone who came to meet you who are now worried and wondering where you are for hours, etc.

                      1. re: khuzdul

                        I don't think it's bad,just not close to what it should be in some areas.CanadaGirl was a wee might huffy toward Sam Salmon about the systems cracks and I find in my travels the cracks are the same width on both sides of the system.

                        Spanish Inquisition,been there,done that.Old USSR,lost my food and aspirin,Switzerland day after Munich Olympic M,lost my hairspray and food,S Korea,day Pope arrived,lost my cheese and sanity.

              2. If you want to know for sure what you can bring call the border service agency and then ask where you can get it in writing and bring that with you just in case there a fuss at inspection. I go across via boat several times per year and always the restrictions vary. Sometimes yes to meat or dairy (cheese) sometimes no. Always no is anything over a couple bottles of wine per person (so send it home by mail) and fresh fruit and veggies. NO. I can see them getting ticky over foie gras. So check and bring the proof with ya.