Mail no candy there
January 18, 2008 8:23 AM   Subscribe

A couple of years ago – post-911, maybe in 2002 or 2003 – my local post office in Canada was handing out a list of things that could no longer be mailed into the U.S., which included any commercially made candy, even in small amounts as personal gifts.

I'm curious whether this is still a law or a rule, haven't been able to find out anything about it via Google, and am not even sure whether it's likely to be a U.S. post office rule or a food imports rule or what. Anyone know for sure?
posted by zadcat to Food & Drink (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't have an answer to your question, but I'd bet it was less in response to 9/11 than it was to the anthrax attacks that followed rapidly after. It might help you narrow your search.
posted by crickets at 8:27 AM on January 18, 2008

Yeah, this happened to me too, around Christmas one of those years. Even to mail homemade baking, I had to fill out about 8 forms. A few weeks later, I heard that Canada Post had completely misinterpreted the American rules; in the news, they interviewed some US officials who said the changes were only for commercial shipments, not personal, and it all blew over pretty fast.

I bet if you go down to the post office now, you won't have any trouble at all.
posted by pocams at 8:35 AM on January 18, 2008

Well, Canadian chococat sent me some Smarties when I bought his CD, and he's not in Guantanamo Bay, as far as I know.

Also, buy a CD from chococat, he's really good.
Also, my daughter agreed with his claim that Smarties are better than M&Ms.

posted by Rock Steady at 9:32 AM on January 18, 2008

The Parcel Service Guide still indicates that shipments containing food require FDA approval before they're sent. I've been told that regulation doesn't apply to homemade things, only commercial products, and indeed have never had a problem shipping homemade chocolates across the border.

Elsewhere, they note:

. Articles of food which have been non-commercially prepared by an individual in his own residence and sent to another individual as a non-commercial gift are exempt from the requirement for a Prior Notice.

This implies that homemade stuff that is a gift is fine. But commercial stuff that is a gift still falls outside the rules.

What you need may just be a longer customs form, but you may also need a pre-approval from the US FDA.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:43 AM on January 18, 2008

Well, Canadian chococat sent me some Smarties when I bought his CD, and he's not in Guantanamo Bay, as far as I know.

Well he wasn't until you had to go run your mouth on the Internet. With the NSA listening. Good job there, Rock Steady...

But just so this comment isn't a complete waste, note the words "prepared by an individual in his own residence" above. Baked goods you can probably get away with, but "commercial" doesn't mean commercial shipments, like a whole container load of frozen vegetables being sold to a grocery store chain. It literally means anything that didn't come out of your own kitchen.

About a year and a half ago I ran afoul of that trying to send little gift packets of smoked salmon to relatives in the states via UPS. They sell these things in all the little tacky tourist shops all over Vancouver and I have no idea what people are expected to do with them. You can't take them with you on a plane, you can't mail them to the folks back home. They're like little bureaucratic time bombs waiting to get you in trouble with someone somewhere when you least expect it.
posted by Naberius at 11:21 AM on January 18, 2008

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