When planning a trip that involves crossing over the United States' border with Canada or Mexico, it is important to know that there are restrictions on the types of foods you can bring across the border into the U.S., Canada or Mexico. These rules were put it place to address public health and safety concerns. You'll want to pack a minimal amount of food and declare it to insure a swift crossing.

US Food Restrictions

When entering the United States from Mexico or Canada, travelers may bring bakery items and some types of cheese across the border without worrying about being inspected. Other items that are generally accepted include packaged coffee, tea, condiments and spices, among others. Refrain from bringing rice across the border; according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's border patrol website, rice can harbor unwanted insects. Other banned items include meat products; some exceptions do apply. In many cases, you cannot bring foreign fruits and vegetables.

Canada Food Restrictions

When crossing into Canada over the U.S. border, you are not permitted to bring any potatoes or temperate fruit. As far as meat goes, you are allowed to cross with any type of seafood -- aside from putterfish and Chinese mitten crabs -- as well as 44 lbs. of meat per person; of those 44 lbs., only 24 lbs. can be beef. Tea, coffee and condiments are no problem; any vegetarian pastries and bakery items are not prohibited.

Mexico Food Restrictions

When making your way into Mexico across the U.S. border, you cannot bring any meat or produce into Mexico. According to Adventure Mexican Insurance services, these rules are not always enforced at the Mexican border, but you're better off safe than sorry; attempting to bring fruit or meat from the U.S. could result in your being delayed or even detained. For the most part, packaged and canned food items are A-OK.

Other Things to Know

Never attempt to conceal your food products; you must immediately declare what you are bringing in with you when you speak with an inspector. Other items that may be restricted include drugs, alcohol, fireworks, firearms, live animals and insects. Even if you have marijuana that you use for medicinal purposes, you're liable to face trouble if you try to bring it across the border. Additionally, there are special laws, documents and forms to be aware of when bringing pets across the border.