Selling direct to consumers in the US – some customs questions


I want to try out an idea selling confectionery direct to consumers in the US (and perhaps Canada). I have enough of an understanding of things this side of the Atlantic, and even on the consumer side in the US, but what I’m having trouble with is knowing the regulatory requirements there. The CBP website leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to being useful.

I have some specific questions:
1. Are there any bureaucratic hurdles involved in having packaged confectionery shipped direct to US consumers?
2. Does chocolate fall under ‘dairy products’ in the US?
3. In the same way that UK consumers can import items below £15 without paying duty, what kind of system does the US operate? Is there a threshold for US consumers importing items?


Hi James,

In brief, there’s a lot of bureaucracy in exporting food and drink to the US.

I’d recommend speaking to your local UKTI International Trade Team and arranging a free appointment with an International Trade Advisor.

For your postcode of FY2 they are available on 0845 603 7053.

If you haven’t heard from them in a week then feel free to get in touch with me. Although I’m based in the North East I’d be happy to help. Please call me on 0845 05 05 054

Best of luck,



Thanks, Thomas – I’ll be in touch with them for further guidance.



Hi Tom

We export eCommerce goods for UK based companies to the US, as Thomas points out food exports to the US can be tricky and you would need a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) code. The low goods value limit per consignment per person to the US is $200USD

If you require any further assistance check out our web page and if you think we can help give us a call

Export Action Plan