Requirements for Food Served or Sold in Preclearance Locations

Last Modified: February 27, 2024

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) preclears U.S.-bound travelers departing from 15 airports in 6 countries. This allows them to bypass inspection when they arrive in the United States. Retailers and caterers operating in or serving CBP preclearance locations must comply with APHIS requirements to ensure that food or products precleared passengers may take with them will not spread agricultural pests or diseases to the United States.

This page explains the requirements retailers and caterers must follow. It also lists the types of foods and agricultural products that retailers and airline caterers may sell or give to precleared passengers and where to source certain items to comply with U.S. import regulations. CBP Agriculture Specialists at preclearance locations inspect and monitor retail facilities and airline catering kitchens to ensure compliance.

Each airline catering kitchen or retail facility located in preclearance areas must provide written plans to CBP detailing procedures for:

  • Segregating approved foods from prohibited foods,
  • Ensuring only approved foods are placed on aircraft with precleared passengers, and
  • Ensuring only approved foods and agricultural products are available in preclearance areas during preclearance operations.

Food service providers and airline caterers must provide updated written plans to CBP when they change their menus.

For more information, contact the CBP office at the Passenger Preclearance location.

The following foods may be served without restriction:

  • Cooked fruits and vegetables
  • All meat and poultry products, dairy products, and other agricultural products sourced from the United States
  • The following animal products sourced from countries other than the United States:
    • Thoroughly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs
    • Processed and solid cheeses (hard or soft) that do not contain meat
    • Cheeses in brine that do not contain meat
    • Cooked, shelf-stable meat and poultry products if they were subject to high temperatures after being sealed in the container and will be given to passengers in the original container
  • Other foods approved to remain on the aircraft upon arrival in the United States

Fruits and Vegetables

  • Prepared meals served on the aircraft may contain no more than a few garnishes consisting of whole berries, grapes, and small cherry tomatoes.
  • All other fruits and vegetables served on the aircraft must be cut.
  • Only cut fruits and vegetables may be sold in preclearance areas (no whole fruits, berries, grapes, or cherry tomatoes).

Non-U.S. Origin Meat and Meat Products

You may source meat and meat products from any facility located in a country that is listed by APHIS Veterinary Services as free of disease for the type of meat needed.

  • For pork meat, check the tabs for classical swine fever, African swine fever, swine vesicular disease, and foot-and-mouth disease.
  • For beef, goat, or lamb meat, check the tab for foot-and-mouth disease.

If you want to source meat or meat products from a country that is NOT listed as free of disease, you must source it from a USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service's eligible foreign establishment in that country.

Food service providers and airline caterers should sign up to receive emails from APHIS when a country’s animal disease status changes and a menu change is required. You will have 6 months to make necessary changes to the meat and meat products offered to precleared passengers.

No living plants, plant parts for growing (such as seeds, stems, bulbs, or tubers); cut flowers; cut foliage; or ornamental plant parts (such as fronds, fruit pods, leaves, or seed heads) may be sold in preclearance areas or used in airline catering.

All food waste generated on board flights with precleared passengers, except flights arriving from Canada, is regulated upon arrival in the United States. See the Regulated Garbage page for details.

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