I want to bring in some cooked chicken breasts in sealed packing to Canada. I will have these chicken breasts cooked at home and then have them packed in sealed packaging that is good for up to 1 year. The products, because they will be home prepared, will not have any labeling that identifies the product or its ingredients (although I can probably arrange that if required). The ingredients will only be chicken, garlic, lemon juice and yogurt.

Can I bring this into Canada for personal consumption? The total chicken cooked will not be more than 4-5 KG weight in total perhaps and I will declare it on arrival into Canada.

I have called the food inspection agency and CBSA but all they did was to read an operational manual which did provide some information such as that the item (chicken) itself is NOT prohibited from my country of origin. So I have that answer; however, my exact question (paragraph 2 above) has yet to be answered. Can someone please provide some insight?

If it helps, my country of origin is a developing country and cooked chicken is permitted into Canada from here.

  • 3
    You would seem to have your answer already: chicken from your country is not prohibited. The ingredient list is short and readily available in Canada. Why not prepare it from local ingredients when you arrive?
    – user67901
    Dec 22, 2017 at 13:47
  • Thanks for the comment. I did think about this. The reason is that I have been put on a very strict diet that - when I get to Canada there is a possibility that I might not get an early enough chance to prepare the food as per my specific needs which would mean either going hungry or eating out (which is a big NO) because my dietary requirements due to health are stringent for a while at least. Dec 22, 2017 at 13:50
  • The problem will be proving that the chicken is indeed from your country of origin. If there is doubt of its origin in the mind of the customs officer, you will not be permitted to import it. Dec 22, 2017 at 14:32
  • 4
    I should also point out that you will not get into trouble trying to import it into Canada, as long as you declare it. There is just no guarantee that you will be permitted to import it. If you declare it and it is not acceptable, it will be seized but there will be no negative reflection upon you since you were honest. Dec 22, 2017 at 14:33
  • Thanks Jim - that helps a lot to know. Quick question: so what you are saying is that I could actually be asked to demonstrate that the chicken actually originates from where I am travelling from (and not imported into where I am travelling from)? It does make sense but just want to confirm if I might have misunderstood. Dec 22, 2017 at 17:56

1 Answer 1


You can search the AIRS system (this is the actual system used by customs agents to perform the initial assessment, I was told this by a customs agent at Pearson).

In your case, select the right codes (e.g. 02 Meat, then 07 Poultry, then 13 Gallus Domesticus, then 5195 Chicken, then 11 Fillets) - or whatever it is, I don't think the exact classification matters much for personal consumption, it matters more for calculating customs duty on large commercial shipments - then select the country of origin, then select Travellers and Personal use, and see the results. I just tried it with a few countries and got "Refuse Entry" as a result, but please play around with the codes (I think the codes I chose may refer to raw chicken and not cooked, I don't have time to look in detail) and try with your own country. If you find the right page and it approves entry, print it out for an easier time with customs.

Update: Try also 16 (Preparations of meat) -> 02 (Other) -> 32 (Poultry) -> Chicken -> ...

  • Thanks for taking the time to research those codes for me. I will definitely give it a try to gauge the "likely outcome". Thanks again. Dec 22, 2017 at 17:53
  • Just to provide more information, I tried your suggestion and did find a combination that let me import for personal consumption. Just as a reference for future, here is the combination that I tried 16 --> 02 --> 32 --> 5493 --> 05 --> AS --> Country of Origin --> 46 Dec 23, 2017 at 12:25
  • Quick question here: Where the codes say Refuse Entry as a "recommendation" to the CBSA, it also has a heading titled Exemptions for personal consumption. Would that mean that the exemption applies to the recommendation given to the CBSA; i.e. would I be a bit correct to interpret/read it as --- "the recommendation is to allow entry if the food product is for personal consumption"? I understand that it is hard to find out for sure but just asking for opinion/thoughts which would allow me to make a more educated decision. Dec 23, 2017 at 12:30

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