Small present from UK to US, advice on legalities and avalibility

Soon I’s sending a object to the USA to a customer (i’m an artist) the object is metal (pewter) and about 11" round and its a bowl. The person i’m sending it to is a internet friend and its a present for his lady friend in New York State. I’d like to enclose a small present for him as well. A sort of interesting jokey extra. Something available in the UK but not extensively available in the US. My first thoughts are HP sauce, Marmite or something like that, but they might be available in the US anyway. But is that legal? being food. Or likely to get through. Any suggestions would be welcome.

Factory sealed packages are generally not a problem as long as the contents are safe and legal. Send some real Cadbury’s Chocolate, we have it here but its made by Hersheys and not nearly as good FWIW


Is Marmite considered safe and legal?

The concern with any foodstuffs is disease and parasites. (Unles we’re talking banned substances :slight_smile: )

Something that has been processed, pasteurised, sealed and so cannot contain, say, fruit fly eggs or bubonic plague, is legal. Fresh fruit, unpasteurized “stinky cheese” , etc. may cause problems and generally are stopped at the border.

Does Marmite count as food?

I have a regular annual snack exchange with a friend in London, and have had no problem sending or receiving sealed, unopened boxes or bottles of foods. Typically I’ll send over things like peanut butter and Oreos, and she’ll send Marks & Spencer biscuits and toffee puddings. I wouldn’t recommend liquids, but I’ve received things like loose leaf teas and bottles of curry sauce without any issues.

As for the British treats, I don’t know where in NY your friend is, but specialty stores like Trader Joe’s and Fairway typically have British food sections where you can pick up things like HP Sauce and Ribena. I’m sure anything you send will be much appreciated though.

Discussed here and again here.

Thanks for the reply s, its new York state so ist out in the sticks with the bears and deer. The guy dont seem to like spicy foods so curry sauce is out but a good idea.

Marmite, HP Sauce, etc, are available in some supermarkets in the international foods section for an exhorbitant price. I don’t know how available they are outside urban areas for any price, though.

I think HP Sauce (regular or fruit), those curry simmer sauces with the cute little man on them wearing a bowler, Heinz beans, Branston pickle, etc would be a nice interesting treat for your friend. A can of spotted dick will be both amusing and tasty.

For candy, you have a much wider variety of Cadbury chocolate available. Flake, Crunchie, Wispa, Curly Wurly, all will be new & different for them.

Ditto Nestle chocolate - Aero, Yorkie, Rowntree Fruit gums.

Commercially packaged foods in jars and cans, chocolate & candy, are all legal to send to and bring into the US from the UK. Avoid all fresh foods.

When I lived in PA my folks used to send me parcels of stuff from “back home”. At various times they sent waxed cheddar cheese, HP sauce, shortbread, mince pies, oatcakes and loads of other stuff.

The only thing that didn’t make it through customs was a can of haggis.

Thanks very much all food for thought… i had thought PG tips would be nice but he seems to drink Iced tea (urrggg)… I might invest in some of prince Charles over prices biscuits that are fairly locally produced…as i cant send a Cornish pastie…

When I lived in America (and once I had established a reliable Marmite supply line, as my first priority) one of the British foods I most appreciated being sent (and which was difficult to get in America even at specialist British food shops), was instant custard. You can sometimes find the old fashioned stuff which you have to boil and stir for several minutes (but who wants to do that in the 21st century?) or even, occasionally, the Ambrosia canned stuff (which I think tastes funny), but not the packets of powder that you just pour boiling water over and stir (currently available in my local Tesco for 6p a packet).

It is true that many Americans might not really know what to do with British custard, but I can tell you that when my American-born-and-raised young nephews first visited Britain, perhaps the thing that most favorably impressed them was the custard, and my own American-born-and-raised daughters also love the stuff.

Somewhat in the same vein, why have Americans, of all people, not embraced the technology of instant gravy granules? There is nothing wrong with American gravy, but even the powdered stuff you buy in little packets you have to boil and stir. British style granules are much easier to use (again, just pour on boiling water and stir a bit), and just as good. I thought Americans loved instant. I always thought there was a business opportunity here for someone.

So Marmite, HP sauce (maybe even the Guinness sort?..) and instant custard that’ll get him thinking!

it shouldn’t be a problem . I’ve sent food by mail to the US,. I label it on the customs form as “food items packaged in the original, factory-sealed containers.” Value $25.

Never had a problem.

(but I wouldn’t dare try this with Marmite…I don’t want to get arrested…Customs inspectors have special techniques for detecting chemical weapons.)

Well the last time i sent a bowl to the US it took an awfully long time, i think the postal system opened it, probably a metal bowl looks a lot like a land mine on x-ray!.

How about Gentlemen’s Relish? It shouldl raise a smile even if he doesn’t like it.

Its and idea but, here even that’s a rare thing to see on shop shelves…

When I think of British foods that I would love to be able to get here in the states, I think of Jaffa Cakes.

Man, now I want Jaffa Cakes.