When you spend some time apart from one another, it can be a good pick me up to come home from a hard day at work to find a present from a loved one in the post. Everybody loves to receive presents, so sending one is one of the best things you can do to remind someone that you are thinking of them, even if they are not with you at that time.

Sending food items as a present, as a thank you gift or as a brief memento can be quite common among both friends and relatives. This applies whether they live in the same town or whether they live thousands of miles away halfway around the world. Food is one of the things we intrinsically love to share as human beings, as it is often seen as an extension of our affection. So, what are the key things to remember if you’re sending food abroad as a present?

Country Restrictions
It is essential that you check the rules of the recipient country when it comes to the food they will allow to enter from abroad, as depending on the type of package you send, you may be sending prohibited items. Most countries have some restrictions on the type of food allowed in when looking at international parcel deliveries, or the way it is prepared or packaged, so make sure you’re not sending anything prohibited which will be removed from the parcel or cause any issues with security.

For example, fresh fruit and vegetables might carry insects which can be introduced to a country and destroy crops. Some other foods may also carry diseases or illnesses which are not native to the recipient country, so there may be a ban on those type of foods. It is always important to check!

Weather Conditions and its Effects on Food
Think about the recipient country and its normal weather conditions. Sending food to Russia is very different from sending it to Egypt, for example. You need to choose the items wisely to make sure they aren’t affected by the temperature.

Sending anything which can melt or spoil quickly is generally a bad idea, as even if the country isn’t hot it may undergo high temperatures during transit or in parcel holding areas. Baked goods can be a safe bet if you want to give someone a taste ‘of home’ so play it safe if you are unsure.

Sending Drinks
Anything involving liquid can hold a risk of leaking. Certain liquids are also prohibited in certain countries (think alcohol bans) so it is important to do your research either way. If you are certain that your food or drink is going to be willingly accepted into the country with no complaint, you will need to package it well to protect the container from breaking and the liquid from leaking out.

Therefore, if you are sending anything with liquids or drinks, wrap those items individually and place them into separate waterproof packaging, such as a plastic bag or bubblewrap. This way, even if this packaging does burst or split, the leaking liquid can’t damage any of the other items in the package. Also, if not properly packaged, the liquid can damage the entire box and weaken it, which may mean that your parcel might never make it there at all.

Declaration Forms
Most countries require you to fill out a form detailing what is contained in your parcel, so make sure this is filled in accurately. This is normally just a formality and is done to prevent people from smuggling illegal substances into the country. It is a well enforced form of checking packages and should not be taken lightly.

Don’t try to sneak anything in, because the parcels will be scanned and x-rayed, and may also be subject to random checks. The best case scenario is that these individual items are removed, with the worst being that the entire package is destroyed or returned to you if it is not allowed to remain in the country. With food packages, you need to take a little more care, but this shouldn’t put you off if you want to share you love of food with your family and friends abroad.

At the end of the day, if you double check the list of prohibited items and packages on the recipient country and make sure everything is well documented and well packaged (as you can never be too careful) your package should make it safely out to the other side. Another good idea is to pay for express postage or recorded delivery, so that you can confirm your parcel arrived safe and sound. You can also request the international parcel be delivered by courier, as they can sometimes be swifter than regular delivery services. Best of luck with sending your care package, and we hope that your friend or relative appreciates whatever gift you may choose to send!

Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer in the technology industry – working alongside companies like Rand Logistics; the UK’s market leading parcel broker, who were consulted over the information in this piece.