What Can I Bring Into Canada in Terms Of Food, Plant, Animal and Related Products?

Travellers are required, by law, to declare all plant, animal, and food items they bring into Canada. This includes items related to plants, animals and food, or their by-products.

If you bring these products into Canada, you may go through further inspections at the point of entry (that is, border crossings, airports). Be prepared for delays if further inspection is required.

If you are importing for commercial purposes, review the Guide to Importing Food Products Commercially.

If you are importing items other than food, plants and animals (such as alcohol, firearms, tobacco or vehicles) visit the Canada Border Services Agency's (CBSA) document I Declare: A guide for residents of Canada returning to Canada or Visitors to Canada and other Temporary Residents for further information.

Before you travel, verify the requirements for what you can bring into Canada

Restrictions on what food items you are allowed to bring into Canada vary, depending on the product. Some restrictions also vary based on the province. Because pest and disease situations are constantly changing, these requirements may be adjusted at any time.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is responsible for determining customs and duties for items coming into Canada.

Products allowed into Canada from the United States

This is a list of commonly imported food, animal and plant products and the guidelines for importing them from the United States. Because pest and disease situations are constantly changing, these requirements may be adjusted at any time.

Even though these items are allowed into Canada, you still must declare them on your declaration form.

Some items do need documents to accompany them. For more information, go to the "When are documents required?" section.

Animal fat or suet

  • up to 20 kilograms per person

Baked goods, candies, etc.

  • no goods containing meat
  • up to 20 kilograms per person

Coniferous wreaths and Christmas trees

  • some restrictions apply for items from states that are infested with gypsy moth

See "List of North American Gypsy Moth Infested or Suspected Infested Areas of Canada and the United States". Or contact the CFIA National Import Service Centre (NISC).

Conifers and garden plants

  • restricted

Contact the CFIA National Import Service Centre (NISC) for more information.

Dairy products (e.g.: cheese, milk, yogurt, butter)

  • up to 20 kilograms per person with a value of $20 or less

Fish and seafood

  • up to 20 kilograms per person
  • all species except
    • pufferfish
    • Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis)

Flowers: cut

  • restrictions on coniferous foliage/green cones
  • must not be for propagation

There may be some restrictions depending on the type of flowers and where they come from. Use the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) to confirm if a specific item is allowed.

Fruits and vegetables, including herbs: dried

  • up to 15 packages per person
  • but not more than 250 kilograms

Fruits and vegetables, including herbs: frozen or canned

  • fruits
    • up to 15 frozen packages or 15 cans per person
    • but not more than 250 kilograms
  • vegetables
    • up to 20 kilograms of frozen or chilled vegetables per person

Fruits and vegetables: fresh

  • one bag up to 4 kilograms of US number 1 potatoes per person and the bag must be commercially packaged
  • 15 packages or less up to 250 kilograms of fresh fruits and vegetables per person (excluding potatoes)
  • must be free from soil, pests, leaves, branches and/or plant debris
  • some restrictions on some fresh fruit and vegetables from California, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington
  • in British Columbia (BC): restrictions on fresh apples, stone fruit and potatoes

Use Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) to confirm if the product is allowed before bringing it into Canada.

Game animal carcasses

  • with a hunter's permit and/or licence

Provincial restrictions may apply. For example, on deer, there may be restrictions due to chronic wasting disease.

Spices, tea, coffee, condiments

  • entry permitted

Infant formula

  • commercially packaged
  • milk based or non milk based, (dry/liquid) formula
  • for personal use only
  • sealed
  • up to a maximum of 20 kilograms per person

Leather goods and skins

  • fully tanned hides and skins only

Meat and poultry products (for example, jerky, sausages, deli meats and patties, fois gras)

  • up to 20 kilograms per person
  • packages must have identifying marks, indicating what the product is
  • proof of country of origin may be required

Meat and poultry: fresh, frozen and chilled

  • up to 20 kilograms per person
  • one turkey per person
  • packages must have identifying marks, indicating what the product is
  • proof of country of origin may be required

Sea shells and sand

  • sea shells and items made from them
  • small quantities of sand from salt-water beaches
  • must be free from all animal matter, soil, soil-related matter and plant debris

Vegetables: fresh

See "Fruits and vegetables".

Wooden souvenirs

  • must be free of bark, insects or evidence of insect activity

For more detailed information, you can review the import requirements for specific products using the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) Automated Import Reference System (AIRS). By following the appropriate prompts, you will be able to determine current requirements based on the type of product you want to bring with you.

Products allowed into Canada from countries other than the United States

This is a list of commonly imported products and the guidelines for importing them from countries other than the United States. Because pest and disease situations are constantly changing, these requirements may be adjusted at any time.

Even though these items are allowed into Canada, you still must declare them on your declaration form.

Some items do need documents to accompany them. For more information, go to the "When are documents required?" section.

Baked goods, candies, etc.

  • no goods containing meat
  • up to 20 kilograms per person

Dairy products

  • cheese:
    • up to 20 kilograms per person with a value of $20 or less

These items are not allowed

  • milk
  • milk products (whey, cream, skim milk, butter oil, and so on)
  • in these forms: dried, frozen, reconsituted, or fresh

Fish and seafood

  • up to 20 kilograms per person
  • all species except
    • pufferfish
    • Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis)

Flowers: cut

  • not coniferous foliage/green cones
  • must not be for propagation

There may be some restrictions depending on the type of flowers and where they come from. Use the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) to confirm if a specific item is allowed.

Fruits and vegetables: dried

  • up to 20 kilograms per person

Fruits and vegetables: frozen or canned

  • up to 20 kilograms per person

Fruits and vegetables: fresh

  • depending on the country of origin, entry may be severely restricted or prohibited
  • a Plant Protection Import Permit from the country of origin may be required
  • must be free of all growing media, soil and/or related matter

When products are permitted, there is a maximum limit of

  • 15 packages or fewer
  • weight not to exceed 250 kilograms per person
  • may be subject to regulations in the province of destination

Root vegetables (for example, carrots, potatoes and so on)

  • restricted
  • must be 1.5 centimetres or less in thickness

Herbs, spices, tea, coffee, condiments

  • entry permitted

Infant formula

  • commercially packaged
  • for personal use only
  • sterile
  • up to 20 kilograms per person

Leather goods and skins

  • fully tanned hides and skins only

Sea shells and sand

  • sea shells and items made from them
  • small quantities of sand from salt-water beaches
  • must be free from all animal matter, soil, soil-related matter and plant debris

Vegetables: fresh

See "Fruits and vegetables". Use the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) to confirm if the item is allowed before bringing it into Canada.

Wooden souvenirs

  • must be free of bark, insects or evidence of insect activity

For more detailed information, you can review the import requirements for specific products using the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) Automated Import Reference System (AIRS). By following the appropriate prompts, you will be able to determine current requirements based on the type of product you want to bring with you.

When are documents required?

Some items, if allowed into Canada, may require documents such as

  • permits issued in Canada in advance,
    and/or
  • certificates from the country of origin

These include

  • meat and dairy products
  • nuts
  • plants
  • fruits
  • live animals

To request permits contact the CFIA National Import Service Centre (NISC). If you do not have the required documents, the items will not be allowed to enter Canada.

Additional information

If you are entering Canada as a longer-term visitor, seasonal resident or temporary resident, visit the Canada Border Services Agency's (CBSA) document Visitors to Canada and other Temporary Residents.

Questions

If you need more information on personal imports of food, plant and animals please contact the CFIA National Import Service Centre (NISC).