Next week I will be flying to the US from Canada, and I was planning to bring a couple jars of homemade strawberry jam as a gift for my host.

Unfortunately, both countries' respective border services websites make no mention of whether jam is allowed across the border. It seems that canned fruit is generally permitted, but I don't know whether jam could be included as a "canned fruit" (or furthermore, whether homemade preserves are even permitted under this guideline).

Thus my question is: can a traveller bring a small quantity (2-3 jars) of homemade fruit jam from Canada into the US? (Answers that reference an official/government source would be preferred)


2 Answers 2


Drilling down from the CBP's main page, one eventually gets to this page, which presents this text:

canned fruit

So, the answer is "No, home-canned jam is not admissible."

OTOH, you may wish to carry this stuff anyway and declare it to Customs. There's no penalty for declaring goods that are refused (and if so, will be confiscated), but perhaps in spite of the web statement they'll let you bring it in.

EDIT 6-23-2019:

@Doc cites (in the comments above) a possible duplicate question; the answer there references a USDA handbook on the admission (or not) of plants and other foodstuffs. That document refers to "marmelade" and "jam" specifically, and allows them entry without regard to their mode of preparation.

This Answer, therfore, is incorrect. The item in question should be admitted.

  • 2
    This answer is 100% wrong. Jam is NOT a "canned" fruit. Canned fruit is typically uncooked, where jam is cooked fruit which has different criteria as the cooking process generally DOES remove pests and diseases. The USDA has specific rules for cooked fruit, including jams.
    – Doc
    Jun 23, 2019 at 18:08
  • @Doc Certainly I could be incorrect, but I don't think that's the case. "Home canning" has always referred to home-prepared edibles (like fruit) in glass containers. Can you provide a citation for the assertion that "Home-canned products" as used by CBP means "only in metal containers" ? Jun 23, 2019 at 21:02
  • @Doc I have tried, and failed, to find a place where they discuss jams other than the reference to canned fruits and vegetables. Could you post a link? Jun 24, 2019 at 0:40
  • @PatriciaShanahan See the answer to the question mentioned above as a duplicate
    – Doc
    Jun 24, 2019 at 2:22
  • 1
    @Doc is right, and I was wrong. Table 3-151, in the USDA's manual cited in the other thread, specifically lists "marmelade" and "jams," without regard to whether they were produced commercially, or at home, or whether they're accompanied by evidence of production methods sufficient to kill possible pathogens. These items are to be "released," i.e., allowed into the US. I have edited my Answer above. Jun 24, 2019 at 3:13

Customs might allow you to bring the jam int the US, but airport security at your departure airport might have other ideas. Jam is classed as a gel, and as such comes under the rules for gels and liquids - specifically, not more than 100ml in the cabin. You can put the jam in your checked baggage, if you can pack it securely and trust the baggage handlers not to drop your bags.

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