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Would I be able to bring tea bags (Lipton tea from Australia, and Twinings) in a zip-lock bag inside my checked luggage along with unopened Cadbury chocolate bars and such? I will declare on arrival.

Is having tea bags that are opened from their packaging a mistake and they're just going to throw them out rather than check for narcotics when declaring?

I think of having maybe 70 tea bags in their box (seal broken) and taking to Korea.

Should I just buy more tea and keep it sealed and take that?

  • It is usually much easier and faster to clear customs when they can easily identify the items, and the original packaging helps with that. That's one reason why you are advised to leave it packaged. – Michael Hampton Sep 11 '16 at 3:55
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    They sell cadbury--and probably Lipton/twinings or very near substitutes, at least--in Korea – davidvc Sep 11 '16 at 3:59
  • @pnuts I know it's not amazing to take, but a pack of 100 bags in Korea costs about 250% more. I have room in my suitcase, so why not? – insidesin Sep 11 '16 at 10:26
  • @davidvc Cadbury is a gift, that will be packaged (and fine to bring). Tea was for me and will be a pretty big money-saver for me since like I said before, it's about a 250% ($8) saving at LEAST. Just curious on customs. – insidesin Sep 11 '16 at 10:27
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    @pnuts Safe and sound with a 100pack of Lipton, 3 huge cadbury blocks and much more. Can't wait to go back home with 2L of Soju hahaha. – insidesin Oct 12 '16 at 4:22
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VisaHQ lists various items that may be imported free of duty, some that are prohibited and some that are restricted. In the last category is:

• Animals, plants and products thereof including foodstuff is subject to quarantine and may not be allowed to enter. For more information contact nearest embassy or consulate or appropriate authority –plant or animal for required certificates and prohibited items.

So, since Korea itself does not seem to be at all forthcoming about what is and what is not allowed, it seems you are expected to contact nearest embassy or consulate or appropriate authority. Personally I'd not bother. I'd rather take the (I believe infinitesimal risk) of the tea and chocolate being confiscated and then just manage without or, as mentioned, replace it in Korea at a higher price.

There should be no issue with duty, as regardless of personal import allowances there is a de minimis 150,000 KRW (about $130) below which no duty is levied anyway.

I would keep the tea in its original packaging, but more for preserving what little flavour it (Yellow Label!) has than for the sake of Customs. If say the only space I had free was a coat pocket I'd settle for Ziploc bags.

In an answer to Would I be allowed to get on a plane from the UK and fly to America with tea? (where agricultural control is quite strict) a Comment (to an answer by @Dewi Morgan - sadly not to one by Zac Lipton, since Lipton is a famous tea brand) includes:

When entering the US I declare my tea and get a tired smile from the Customs bods

(my emboldening).

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