Whether you’re traveling to Canada temporarily, or returning from a trip to another country, you’ll need to be careful about bringing food items with you. Some items are prohibited, meaning you cannot bring them into the country no matter what. Others are restricted, meaning the rules might depend on your situation or require additional paperwork. Most food items are either permitted or restricted, rather than outright prohibited.
For information about restrictions on non-food items, and about what you can and can’t bring into the United States, visit our main prohibited items page.
Personal vs Commercial Use
This page is about bringing food into Canada for personal use. For information on commercially importing food, check out this page from the Canadian Border Services Agency.
Personal exemption: If you’re a resident of Canada and are returning from a visit outside the country longer than 24 hours, you’ll likely qualify for a personal exemption that excuses you from paying some amount of duties and taxes. There are rules restricting this, based on how long you’ve been gone, what you’re bringing and how much of it, etc. View the table below for specific information on different food items.
Regardless of whether your items are for personal use, or if you qualify for a personal exemption, you must declare all food items at the border.
What happens if you don’t follow the rules?
If you fail to declare the food you’re bringing into Canada, you could face fines of a thousand dollars or more. Do your research ahead of time, and cooperate with agents at the border, and your trip should go smoothly.
Current information on prohibited and restricted food
The table below lists food products that are allowed into Canada (coming from the United States). The far right column tells you how much you can bring before it no longer qualifies as personal use. The table can also be viewed on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s website.
To find more detailed information about a specific food item, use the AIRS system. It takes awhile to click through all the menus, but once you do, it’ll tell you all the rules and requirements regarding a particular type of food.