Flying with hot dogs
February 15, 2008 11:27 AM   Subscribe

For a friend: Can I bring a pack of hot dogs on a plane to China? That is, are there any regulations that would prevent me from doing so, and will they still be good after ~36 hours? They're Hebrew National all-beef, and I'd put them in cargo.
posted by danb to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: (Friend is in the US.)
posted by danb at 11:29 AM on February 15, 2008

Chilled packs wrapped around it and checked in a bag why not?
posted by Freedomboy at 11:46 AM on February 15, 2008

The importation of meat products into China is restricted. I'm looking for a link for you now, but I'd guess even if the hotdogs stayed edible after the flight, customs would make you toss em.
posted by Arbac at 11:47 AM on February 15, 2008

I think that 36 hours unrefrigerated would be unsafe, even if you cooked them afterwards.
posted by Class Goat at 11:57 AM on February 15, 2008

I would be more worried about how edible the hot dogs would be than customs. Just walk through the "nothing to declare" gate and don't tell anyone you brought food with you.
posted by pravit at 11:59 AM on February 15, 2008

Try calling FedEx or DHL and ask them for the country specific customs restrictions ... "I'd like to ship item X to country Y." If allowed, they will also be able to advise on how this item needs to be packed to insure clearance.

My thought: Restricted or not, worth trying. Not much to lose. In the worst case, they confiscate and/or it spoils. If lucky, no spoilage and easy clearance.
posted by MD06 at 12:00 PM on February 15, 2008

Safety wise as long as they started out frozen and you wrapped them in a towel or something similar they'll be fine, possibly even partially frozen depending on ambients. For extra frozen time put the hotdogs into a water tight container (like these ziplock containers) partially fill with water and freeze. All the ice will have to melt before the hot dogs can start to go bad. I've done this while camping with not only hot dogs but also fish and hamburger. You can buy insulated bags for this kind of thing too.
posted by Mitheral at 12:06 PM on February 15, 2008

I would be more worried about how edible the hot dogs would be than customs. Just walk through the "nothing to declare" gate and don't tell anyone you brought food with you.

Depends how strict the country's biosecurity laws are: plenty of people have been handed instant fines of several hundred dollars for bringing a single apple into New Zealand, for example. I have no idea how strict the Chinese biosecurity laws are, or whether they apply to meat, but it's worth thinking about.
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:40 PM on February 15, 2008

You'd probably want to freeze them and put them in an insulated container, or pack them in dry ice.
posted by electroboy at 12:46 PM on February 15, 2008

There are hotdogs all over the place in China. They just come in different packaging, and they are put into weird foods.
posted by BobbyDigital at 12:46 PM on February 15, 2008

Lawls. Sealed, cooked hotdogs in the cargo hold of a big jet going bad in 36 hours? Wow ya'll woulda died at my house. You do realize that it's cold down there, right? And, also...that we're talking HOT DOGS, not prime rib or something. Hell, I'd eat the prime rib too. I'd hasten to say that even Hebrew National hotdogs contain things that those squeamish enough to avoid them after 36 hours would be loathe to eat in the first place.

I don't think this persons issue is FOOD SAFETY, I think it's LEGALITY, for which I'm no help. You *might* have an issue with the hebrew/kosher aspect with the chinese government types more than you'd have an issue with the ZOMG TESTICLESANDLIPS.
posted by TomMelee at 6:55 PM on February 15, 2008

Put them in your suitcase with some ice and don't give it a second thought. I honestly don't think you'll have any trouble in China. The airport and security there seemed much more lax than I had anticipated. Worst case scenario, they find the hot dogs and take them away from you. Good luck!
posted by 913 at 2:01 AM on February 16, 2008

Maybe you could put one of those leather harness / handles on the pack, and wear sunglasses, pretending to be blind. Still though you'd have to figure out a way to explain why anyone would need multiple seeing-eye dogs.
posted by allkindsoftime at 4:58 AM on February 16, 2008

Probably not. This link says meat must come from an inspected slaughterhouse:
The US Food Safety Inspection Bureau must conduct inspection and quarantine of all meat to be exported to China, and issue a hygiene certificate.

It is weird that the US appears so lax in allowing food into its country, most of the world takes quarantine pretty seriously - as in it is a jailable offense to break the laws.
I wouldn't take on the Chinese police over hot dogs.
posted by bystander at 3:13 AM on February 18, 2008

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