Bringing food in suitcases into China

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Bringing food in suitcases into China

Postby austin » Sat Jun 28, 2008 1:28 am

I have heard that the governement and airports are not allowing food of any kind be brought back into china in suitcases and if customs find them, they will consficate. Is this true?
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Postby Renovator » Sat Jun 28, 2008 1:42 am

I travel between US and China every 4 weeks. Two trips ago I saw sniff dog find food in an incoming suitcase at Pudong carousel. There was quite a bit of food as the agents pulled it all out of a suitcase. I watched the traveller argue for at least 15 minutes with the agent while I waited for my bag at the next carousel. Nothing doing, the food was all confiscated. I am sure they don't find all the food that comes in as dogs don't sniff all baggages and all baggages do not go through x-ray on way in but if they find it, expect to lose it.
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Postby dsugg » Sat Jun 28, 2008 2:01 am

I bring in something every time for the in-laws (they love Canadian bacon - hahaha). I have never had my bag opened in 18 years. If all they ever do is confiscate I don't care, but if my passport number gets flagged and I start getting the plastic glove treatment every time I would stop.
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Postby Andreas » Sat Jun 28, 2008 2:48 am

I bring in South African biltong every time I go there. I make sure it is vacuum packed, never a problem.
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Postby Mon_Mon » Sat Jun 28, 2008 9:21 am

I always bring a lot of food (in packs) etc. form oversea trip and has no problem with it but note that fresh food e.g. fruits, vegetable, meat etc. are not allowed.
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Postby freedelia » Sat Jun 28, 2008 10:44 am

We always bring in one or two suitcases FULL of food, never had a problem. Most of the food is dry stuff (Mac&Cheese, Oatmeal, grits, cake and cookie mixes, etc) but we also brought cheeses, salad dressings, maple syrup, icings, etc. NEVER a problem...
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Postby p1atl10 » Sat Jun 28, 2008 2:21 pm

In the past I would agree, but think they are tightening up considerably for the next months...for some reason.

Technically....only fruits, vegetables, meats, and other fresh foods are banned.

Packaged or canned is not banned.

(Wow...Poetry!)

But they do whatever they want anyways....quoting regs will get you nowhere if they decide to take avrything
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Postby emerson » Sat Jun 28, 2008 2:52 pm

Makes sense. I mean if "Sunny" can hide in a box of Cocoa Puffs and pop out at will to scare the bejeezus out of a couple of kids at breakfast, imagine what a determined radical could do.
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Postby shiner » Sat Jun 28, 2008 9:55 pm

In the new Pudong terminal 2 now every luggage is scanned, no matter if foreigner or not. Terminal 1 I have never been scanned at the exit, even if they do randomly, A colleague told me his lost all his ham, while the coffee in another bag was untouched.
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Postby Renovator » Sat Jun 28, 2008 10:33 pm

Not everything is scanned at terminal 2. depends on the day. I have come through terminal 2 a few times since it has been open and have seen everything from every bag being scanned on exit to having an inspector requesting the occasional bag being put through the scanner. Don't forget they are also using the sniff dogs.

I saw the dogs catch a guy with a suitcase full of food recently, much of the food was in those sealed plastic bags and the agents took it all away. The guy was furious, but no amount of argument stopped them from the confiscation.

Maybe he was telling agent that everyone on Shanghaiexpat says it is OK to bring all the food you want, everyone does it all the time. Smuggling appears to work great as long as you don't get caught.

I think, at least until the Olympics, if not longer food confiscations will be on the rise in Pudong. I wouldn't be surprised once the agents see how much "yummy" food they can confiscate every day that they don't become even more vigilant.
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Postby jrsnick » Sun Jun 29, 2008 6:17 am

Our movers are coming next week to pack our air shipment for our move to Shanghai. We were told that for the months of July and August there are very tight restrictions. No maps, no cosmetics, no soaps, no liquids and NO FOODS of any type. This includes our checked luggage for the plane. we are also only allowed 10 books. They say it is for the Olympics as Renovator mentioned.
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Postby Medea » Sun Jun 29, 2008 3:49 pm

[quote="jrsnick"]Our movers are coming next week to pack our air shipment for our move to Shanghai. We were told that for the months of July and August there are very tight restrictions. No maps, no cosmetics, no soaps, no liquids and NO FOODS of any type. This includes our checked luggage for the plane. we are also only allowed 10 books. They say it is for the Olympics as Renovator mentioned.[/quote]

:shock:

Really?
Our airfreight arrived here last Monday and we are going to get it on Tuesday - with plenty of cosmetics, liquids and foodstuff .....

I'm scared now ....
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Postby underh20 » Sun Jun 29, 2008 4:02 pm

jrsnick wrote:Our movers are coming next week to pack our air shipment for our move to Shanghai. We were told that for the months of July and August there are very tight restrictions. No maps, no cosmetics, no soaps, no liquids and NO FOODS of any type. This includes our checked luggage for the plane. we are also only allowed 10 books. They say it is for the Olympics as Renovator mentioned.


Consider yourself lucky. In Beijing movers can do no moving whatsoever from August 1st until almost the end of the Olympics.
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Postby GirlatWork » Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:00 pm

What? That is one of the main purposes for the Europe trip in July...to bring food back to Shanghai! If it's you, would you still do it? Pack everything with 2 sealable bags?
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Postby Zak101 » Sun Jun 29, 2008 10:02 pm

Came back through Pudong early May with 4 kg of *mostly* dry foodstuffs from Australia (B'fast cereal, licorice, Golden (maple) Syrup, cake sprinkles). All the stuff was plastic wrapped from the factory - they didn't even look at me sideways.

Had more hassles in Hobart to Melbourne with a random ex*losive residue check which I passed, of course......

However, as usual, rules change from hour to hour in China which is rather infuriating.
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Postby aloha99 » Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:53 pm

I came back from europe 2 months ago and for the first time in 8 years I had my luggage checked. Not at the exit but at the carroussel. they had put my luggage in the middle section with other luggage to be checked. It was the only time that I had not brought back cheese, sausages or liquids. But I did have baby food in the luggage (only in small glass container). They asked me to see it and once I explained that it was for the baby they let me keep it.

The man told me that though not all luggage are checked they have been instructed to check at least 75% of the bags and not allow any food, seeds or liquids in.
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Postby emerson » Mon Jun 30, 2008 3:00 pm

With a summer visit/resupply trip home planned for late July, this is a disappointing development, if true. I hope the Shexpat community will continue to report on individual experiences.
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Postby freedelia » Mon Jun 30, 2008 5:48 pm

A friend brought me oatmeal, grits and cookie mix 3 weeks ago.
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Postby supernena » Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:13 pm

Came from Europe two weeks ago with canned stuff and was fine. Not everyone was being checked. One week ago coming back from Singapore EVERYONE had to put their bags through the scanner. Can only assume that until after the Olympics everyone will be checked.
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Postby blondesands » Mon Jun 30, 2008 9:40 pm

GirlatWork wrote:What? That is one of the main purposes for the Europe trip in July...to bring food back to Shanghai! If it's you, would you still do it? Pack everything with 2 sealable bags?


I would think that vacuum packing is better than just using sealable bags. You could try vacuum pack, wrap in newspaper and then sealable bags. You could also try to pack things wrapped in clothing, and mix food with other items to try to disguise the smell. The sniffer dogs are looking for certain items, so if it is not well packaged, it will be easier to find. However, no guarantee that you won't get caught.
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Postby lmao » Tue Jul 01, 2008 1:39 am

I made it through terminal two and the scanner with a bunch of food stuffs a month or so ago and didn't get hassled.. .. ..this time. Felt my blood pressure rise a little. Wonder if they have the thermal imagers up and running yet?
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Postby latina » Tue Jul 01, 2008 9:40 am

I have brought special seasoning from my country early this year, never had a problem, i hope it will remain like that when i come back in september.
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Postby moonbeach » Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:41 pm

As usual nothing is sure in China. I came through T2 a month ago from Singapore with a few apples in my suitcase, got scanned and apples confiscated, no big loss. Last week I came from Europe with plenty of cheeses, hams etc., dog sniffed it but apparently doesn't go for Belgian cheeses, also got scanned but nobody said a thing. Walked through with a slightly-throbbing heart... My plan for next time is to have all the tricky food (like cheese, meats) in a separate backpack (I found a nice thermos-style backpack) on top of my suitcase and take it out before I exit customs, as it seems they never scan carry-on. The damn dogs may mess up that plan though, thought they were foir drugs only....?
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Postby MimiRocks » Thu Jul 03, 2008 2:46 pm

PVG June 30th Report
Husband said they were screening ALL bags at Pudong. I had packed his suitcase with various tolietries and packaged food products (everything was sealed, nothing fresh) and he made it through without any problems. Even had a package of Velveta cheese. :lol:
jrsnick - I hope your movers were being overly cautious with their advice to you, I can't imagine them banning all lotions and cosmetics in checked luggage. Wait, I take that back, I can imagine it... I just hope it isn't so!
I'm still in the US with lotions, make-up and other girly stuff I was planning to bring back in just a few days...

would love to hear from other's recent experiences (hopefully before I return to Shanghai!).
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Postby iara » Thu Jul 03, 2008 3:01 pm

we came back from Thailand june 21st, they were scanning all bags also, even carry on bags.
I just had usual toiletries, no food, and no problem at all.
but lot of chineses were open their lugagges with tons of food!
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Postby aldr » Fri Jul 04, 2008 9:29 am

hmm...we are heading over in a couple of weeks and are planning on bringing some things with us. my husband was over and back last month with no issue. i hope no one wants my fruit snacks, pringles or trix cereal!
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Postby sallywonderland » Fri Jul 04, 2008 3:27 pm

Today they had dogs sniffing all the suitcases and then each suitcase was scanned after you picked it up. The dog got about 10 suitcases...
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Postby Boffels » Fri Jul 04, 2008 4:19 pm

Andreas wrote:I bring in South African biltong every time I go there. I make sure it is vacuum packed, never a problem.

Biltong now you are talking my language, Andres you South African?
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Postby lbrown1 » Tue Jul 08, 2008 12:12 pm

I just arrived PuDong airport on 03 July after a brief summer holiday in the US with 2 BIG bags at 25+ kils each -

Both were mainly full with food-stuffs. I had no idea there would potentially be any problems as I and my family have ALWAYS brought back bunches of food when we return - you know - the favorite brands / flavors / etc.

Sometimes the four of us (wife & 2 little kids) come back with 8 backs - when we fly JAL each bag can weigh up to 30kgs - thats a lot of stuff!!!

This time I bought back coffee, peanut butter, chocolate chips, big bottles of shampoo & lotion, etc. etc. etc. (No fresh foods - all dried and packaged foods...)

I really wasn't worried as I knew I wasn't bringing anything illegal anyway. I would have been really bummed and pissed off if the snagged the coffee!

Bags were sniffed by the dogs and X-rayed at customs exit but thankfully no problems. Everybody's bags went through the scanner - but they stopped no one at the time I was going through. I came in about 9:30PM and the exit wasn't terribly busy.

Good luck... I guess it's a crap shoot.
We will try again when the family comes back in mid-August.

Cheers
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Postby phseven » Wed Jul 09, 2008 2:28 pm

What food you tried to bring in got confiscated?

Just scanned the topic quickly and everyone got through without many problems.

I leave in a couple of weeks and want to bring coffee, Belgian Whisky, Beer and chocolate....I don't think that would be any problem...
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