Bringing Beef Jerky into Canada: A Guide for Travelers

As a frequent traveler between the United States and Canada, one of my favorite high-protein snacks to pack is beef jerky. But can you actually bring beef jerky into Canada? With stringent regulations on importing meat products, many travelers have questions surrounding whether beef jerky is allowed across the border.

In this article, I’ll provide a comprehensive guide to answering the question – can you bring beef jerky into Canada? Read on to learn about the specific rules, restrictions, and steps for properly declaring beef jerky when entering Canada.

Overview of Importing Meat Products into Canada

First, let’s briefly go over some background on bringing meat into Canada. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) heavily regulates the import of meat and meat products to prevent the introduction of foreign animal diseases.

In general, fresh, frozen, dried, and cured meats are prohibited from import for personal use. The exceptions are certain cooked, canned, or shelf-stable meat products which are permitted in limited quantities.

So where does beef jerky fall amongst these restrictions? Keep reading to find out.

Is Beef Jerky Allowed into Canada?

The good news is yes – beef jerky can be brought into Canada! Since beef jerky is a dried, cured meat product, it falls into the category of permitted shelf-stable meat imports

However there are still important stipulations to keep in mind

  • Beef jerky must be commercially packaged and unopened. Homemade or repackaged beef jerky is prohibited.

  • There are maximum quantity limits of 20 kg per person. This equals about 15-20 standard sized bags of jerky.

  • The beef jerky must be accompanied by you across the border. It cannot be mailed or shipped separately into Canada.

As long as your beef jerky meets these requirements, it is legal to bring into Canada for personal use.

Additional Restrictions on Beef Products

If the beef jerky contains beef sourced from countries with heightened risk of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease, it may face additional restrictions or be prohibited from import.

The CFIA has extensive guidelines on beef and beef products from specific countries and regions related to mad cow disease controls. Check their policy for the latest updates if your beef jerky originates outside of the USA or Canada.

How to Declare Beef Jerky at the Canada Border

When crossing the Canadian border, you must declare any food items you are bringing into the country, including beef jerky. Be prepared to show the unopened packages to border agents.

Have purchase receipts handy to verify the jerky was commercially packaged. If asked, be ready to confirm the product is for personal consumption and within the 20 kg allowance.

Declaring beef jerky prevents any perceptions of smuggling prohibited meats. Transparency shows good faith in complying with Canadian rules.

Tips for Smoothly Bringing Beef Jerky into Canada

Follow these tips for a seamless process traveling into Canada with beef jerky:

  • Keep beef jerky in original retail packaging. Do not open or repackage it.

  • Know the exact number of beef jerky bags and total weight you are carrying.

  • Have your receipt ready to show the purchase source.

  • Be prepared to declare it to Canada Border Services upon entry.

  • Carry less than 20 kg or approximately 15-20 average sized bags.

  • Do not attempt to mail or ship beef jerky separately across the border.

Common Questions about Importing Beef Jerky

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about bringing beef jerky into Canada:

Can I bring homemade beef jerky into Canada?

No, only commercially packaged beef jerky is permitted. Homemade jerky is prohibited.

Does beef jerky need to be declared when entering Canada?

Yes, you must declare all food products, including beef jerky, when arriving in Canada.

Is there a limit on how much beef jerky I can bring into Canada?

Yes, there is a personal exemption limit of 20 kg (about 15-20 bags) of beef jerky per traveller.

Can beef jerky be shipped to me in Canada?

No, it must accompany you in person across the border. Shipping or mailing beef jerky separately into Canada is prohibited.

Can I bring beef jerky from Mexico or other countries?

Maybe. Beef jerky from countries with heightened BSE risk may face additional restrictions.

The Bottom Line on Importing Beef Jerky

With proper declarations and adhering to personal exemption limits, Canadians and foreign travelers alike can legally bring store-bought beef jerky for personal consumption into Canada from the United States.

Be mindful of additional restrictions from select countries with heightened animal disease risks. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you can continue to enjoy your beloved beef jerky during trips to Canada.

Common Questions: What mistakes can I avoid when importing food into Canada?


Can I bring jerky into Canada from the US?

Fresh, dried, and cured meats (such as hams and sausages) are not permitted. Only the following commercially prepared meat products are permitted and only if accompanied by you into Canada (they cannot be brought in by mail or courier): products cooked and shelf-stable (safe at room temperature) and.

Do I have to declare beef jerky at customs?

Travelers entering the United States must declare all agricultural or wildlife products to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials.

Can you bring dehydrated food into Canada?

Items You Can Bring Into Canada Food: Dried and packaged food (anything packaged or canned from a grocery store, basically) and cooked food (such as bread, cookies, and sandwiches).

Do you have to declare snacks at Customs Canada?

You are required by law to declare all food, plant and animal products you bring with you into Canada.

Can I bring food into Canada?

Before crossing the border with food, you should use the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s Automated Import Reference System ( AIRS). Canadian regulations allow you to bring food into Canada, but restrictions depend on the product, country of origin, and province of import.

Is beef jerky legal in Canada?

The Answer Might Surprise You! Canadian customs regulations are strict when it comes to food products, and beef jerky falls under the umbrella of meat products. To avoid any unpleasant surprises or potential penalties, it’s crucial to understand the rules and regulations surrounding the importation of beef jerky into Canada.

Can I bring beef jerky to the UK?

While the U.K. allows the importation of meat from European Union (EU) countries, you can’t bring meat from the U.S. or other countries outside the EU. So if you’re asking yourself, “Can I bring beef jerky into the U.K.?” the answer lies in where your flight originates. Can I Take Beef Jerky to Europe?

Can you bring beef jerky to America?

If you’re traveling to the U.S. from another country, you can bring beef jerky as long as it’s commercially packaged and cooked. So can you bring beef jerky into the U.S.? Yep — especially if the beef jerky’s from an American brand. [Related: Beef Jerky From Around the World]

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