Bringing food to Italy by flight is permissible under certain conditions. Be aware of the restrictions of both the airline and customs – both U.S. and Italian -- in order to avoid detention or seizure of your goods. Before you pack, check with your airline, travel agent or the Transportation Security Administration website ( If in doubt, go without.

Checked Luggage

Pack food in your checked baggage instead of your carry-on bag to make it easier to bring into Italy. That way you can bring much more than you would be able to bring in your hand luggage, and you don’t have to deal with check-in or airport security.

Ensure that it is securely packaged in a resealable plastic bag and that liquids are tightly closed and protected from breakage.

Be aware of restrictions on the type of food that can be brought into Italy, including prohibitions on animal products like meat and milk from outside the European Union countries, even when in a checked bag.

Limit the amount so if you are subjected to additional screening, it is clear to customs officials that your own food being imported is for personal use or to be given as gifts and that it is not of sufficient quantity to be considered commercial.

Carry-On Liquids and Beverages

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Follow the TSA’s 3-1-1 liquids rule, sprays, aerosols and gels. Put them in containers smaller than 3.4 ounces and package them in one clear, 1-quart bag per passenger. Everything from perfumes to icepacks to toothpaste needs to follow these rules with few exemptions.

Remove the bag from your carry-on luggage so that it can be subjected to an X-ray machine or other screening methods as determined necessary by TSA officials. The exceptions to this rule include baby formula, breast milk, baby food items, medication or items for medical reasons and all liquids purchased after the passenger has gone through screening. So purchase that U.S. soft drink your Italian relatives are craving after clearing the security checkpoint.

Carry-On Food

Bring solid food products on-board the plane to eat during your flight. If these items are not solid, they are subject to the 3-1-1 guidelines. So fresh fruit is no problem, but mashed fruits, peanut butter, jams and other liquid foods are subject to the same security check, if brought in your hand baggage.

Put condiments such as salad dressing, mayonnaise or mustard into your 1-quart bag for screening.

Ensure utensils needed to eat your food also meet safety guidelines; since most knives are prohibited, pre-cut your fruit and meat.

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Bring special traditional or American foods for Italian family and friends, such as cakes and pies, by following the rules established by the TSA. Ensure that the pie, cake, or other food gifts are unwrapped and clearly visible to make security screening more efficient.

Things You Will Need
  • luggage

  • small containers

  • 1-quart clear plastic bag