If you’re wondering ‘can I bring fruit on a plane’, then you’re in the right place! Different countries have different rules for flying domestically, or landing from international in terms of what is allowed to be in your carry-on.
While its easy to find croissants, cheeseburgers or bags of chips in the airport, its not easy to find fresh fruit. So, its nice to know if you can bring fruit on a plane in your carry-on, or if you’ll be made to throw it out at security checkpoint.
I’m a mom who often travels by air with kids, so naturally, I’m looking for (ideally healthy) snacks that I can bring to have on a flight, and fruit is an ideal choice. On-flight meals are usually the opposite of fresh, and we all know that food in airports is typically expensive.
Lets cut to the chase so you can get the answers you came here for. We’re going to go through each continent, and give you the low down on what you are legally allowed bring into the country or continent domestically if you’re travelling within that continent, and what you can bring into them.
I’ve compiled a list of all the continents, as well as the rules and regulations about bringing fruit into those countries (in your carry on or luggage) from other countries.
So let’s jump in!
Can you Bring Fruit on a Plane?
The short answer? If the fruit is only a snack to have on the flight, then generally, it should be allowed clearance. However, this also might depend on where you’re travelling to, where you’re traveling from, and the security official who goes through your bag. Personally, on the 100+ international flights I’ve been on, I’ve never had a piece of fruit thrown out of my carry-on before a flight – only afterwards.
However, regardless of others’ anecdotal experiences and what the rules say, the final decision rests with the the security officer whether you’ll be allowed to bring your fruit on the plane or not. You’re right to be weary of international air travel with fruit and veggies, because they can be a grey area.
Here’s what you can bring on a plane depending on which North American country you’re traveling to/from or within.
Within mainland United States
According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), you can generally bring fresh fruit or in your checked bag or in your carry-on within mainland United States. According to their website, pretty much all solid food items can be transported in either your carry-on or checked bags within the continental United States.
If you’re travelling from a state that isn’t on the ‘mainland’ (for example, Hawaii, US Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico) then you cannot bring fruits or vegetables with you – this is because of the risk posed from bringing plants that have invasive species living in them.
If you’re flying to Hawaii from mainland United States, you can bring fresh fruit or veggies, but you must declare them – and they’re subject to inspection upon arrival.
Good to Know: The TSA makes a lot of exceptions when it comes to any snacks and drinks for babies and toddlers. Formula, breast milk, toddler drinks, and baby/toddler food (to include puree pouches) in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces or 100 mL s are allowed in carry-on baggage and do not need to fit within a quart-sized bag. All of these things are considered “medically necessary,” and don’t have to meet the same criteria as other people’s foods and drinks.
So if you’re bringing pouches, or home-made baby purée, then you will likely be given an exception to the rule everyone else has to follow. The final decision, as always, rests with the TSA officer on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint or not.
To United States from International
You’re not generally allowed to bring fresh fruits and vegetables of any kind (whole or cut) are into the United States because of the potential pest and disease to American agriculture. This includes fresh fruits or vegetables that you may have gotten from inside the airplane or cruise ship.
This means that if you go through American customs prior to your flight (such as in Canada) then you its possible that they may throw out your banana or peach, even if it was just going to be a snack for the flight. But not likely.
There are dried fruits that you may be allowed to bring, but they might be subject to inspection. So, perhaps consider bringing some of the above as a snack on the airplane. Consider bringing figs, dates, raisins or nuts.
Within mainland Canada
The rules surrounding what food you can bring on a domestic flight within Canada are pretty relaxed. You can pretty much bring any solid fruit and veggies in your carry-on and luggage. You can generally bring any solid food items such as sandwiches, granola bars, muffins to snack on, or to have at your destination.
Good to know: Avoid bringing fruits or foods that are mashed or pureed, as this turns it into a liquid. Liquids above 100 mL aren’t allowed on planes. They’re pretty strict about this, even on flights within Canada. So, things like applesauces and smoothies will likely be denied even if they’re for a toddler.
Generally, pouches for toddlers are safe as long as they’re under the 100 mL liquid limit.
To Canada from International
There is a limit of 20 kg for fruits and 20 kg for vegetables that can be brought into Canada for personal use (which is quite a lot – that translates to 44 lbs!) So that banana or apple on your carry-on bag shouldn’t be a problem.
Canada uses an Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) which allows you to input the type of food you’re hoping to bring in to the country, and where it originated from – the system will then tell you whether its likely to be refused entry or not. Click here to launch AIRS.
To or within Mexico
You shouldn’t have a problem bringing a piece of fruit as a snack on the plane to Mexico.
Mexico has laws that prohibit you from bringing in fruits of vegetables that aren’t company packed or sealed – however, this likely applies to fruit in your suitcase that you’ll have to clear customs for upon your arrival in Mexico.
So eat the fruit on the plane, and make sure its gone by the time you land!
European countries apart of the EU have similar rules as flying domestically within Canada or the United States – the rules are much more lenient.
Within mainland Europe
If your flight is within Europe, you can bring fruits and veggies and even plants as long as they’re grown in a European country and are free from pests or disease. You can also bring meat and dairy products provided they’re for your personal use.
To Europe from International
If travelling to Europe from a country outside Europe, you can bring a “limited quantity” of fruit and vegetables. You can also bring eggs, egg products and honey.
If you travel to the EU from a non-EU country, you are not allowed to bring any meat or dairy products with you. Restricted quantities of fish or fish products are also allowed.
To Great Britain from EU countries (including Switzerland and Leichestein)
According to the Great Britain government website, You can bring fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds as long as they’re for personal use. So bringing them on your carry-on as a snack shouldn’t be any trouble..
To Great Britain from countries outside the EU
The rules are much stricter if you’re travelling into the United Kingdom from outside Europe. There are restrictions of fresh fruits and veggies, as well as meat and dairy products.
According to the UK government website, you can bring almost any type of fruit into the UK, as long as you have a phytosanitary certificate to go with it. There’s a long list of fruits you don’t need a phytosanitary certificate for travelling into the UK (most of them tropical fruits- pineapple, kiwi, banana, mango, etc.)
TIP: If you want to be extra safe with fruit you bring in your carry-on, consider packing tropical fruits that are allowed to enter the country, such as banana, mango or pineapple.
However, if you are simply wanting to just bring a piece of fruit to snack on on the plane – you should be ok, provided its consumed before you land in the UK.
CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA
Central and South America are some of the best places to find exotic, fresh and locally sourced fruits. So to be honest, there’s no need to bring fruit on the plane, unless its just a snack on your carry-on. Here are some of the guidelines in some of the most touristy countries in Central and South America.
You can’t bring fruit, seeds, vegetables or plants into Costa Rica, but according to the Costa Rican Embassy, here are the items that you can bring for personal use.
According to Visa HQ on Colombia, vegetables are prohibited from being brought into Colombia. Fruits aren’t mentioned.
Plants, including fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts are prohibited from being brought into Nicaragua. They may or may not allow you to bring fruit if you fly domestically from Managua to Little Corn Island – but don’t worry, there’s lots of fruit there.
Different countries in Asia may have different levels of strictness about what can be brought in. Overall, its important to note that rules can change frequently. So any fruit or veggie products are subject to inspection at the time of your arrival.
The General Administration of Customs for People’s Republic of China acknowledges that rules and regulations change frequently, so both plant and animal products (which includes fruits and vegetables) will be dealt with on a case by case basis.
Japan has different rules for different fruits and vegetables depending on which country you’re arriving from.
When entering Japan from abroad, food products like seeds, legumes and beans are all subject to inspection. The only foods you don’t need to worry about bringing into the country at all are highly processed or packaged foods (no limit on how many you can bring, and they don’t need to be declared.)
South Korea wants you to declare any food that you’re bringing in to the country; whether its fruit or vegetables or meat and dairy products. If those leftover grapes are still in a Tupperware container your carry-on, then you’ll need to declare them.
According to the National News Bureau of Thailand, the government has warned travellers about bringing fresh fruits into Thailand.
Neither Australia or New Zealand allow you to bring fresh fruits into their country. A snack on the plane is likely fine, but make sure its gone before you arrive.
The Australian Border Force is pretty strict about foods that are being brought into the country. There are some items, such as baked goods, that have no restrictions. But if you’re bringing things like coffee, honey or even human breast milk, you need to at least declare it. According to the Australian Boarder Force, fresh fruits are prohibited from entering the country.
Generally, you cannot bring fresh fruits or vegetables into New Zealand, but there are some dried fruits that are allowed. New Zealand uses this tool to give you an idea of whether or not your goods (which include food products such as fruits and vegetables) will be allowed into the country.
Legal disclaimer: New Zealand’s online tool cannot ‘guarantee’ that your food items will pass clearance screening
Africa has similar rules as other continents – fruit in small amounts might be ok, but only for personal use. Here is some more detailed information on some of the most popular African countries to travel to. Bottom line – make sure you eat the fruit before you land.
Fruit isn’t listed as being prohibited in Egypt, so in small amounts (a snack from your carry-on) it may be allowed, but prepare for it to be denied just in case. One interesting thing noted from looking at the Egypt Visa Pro website, is that you cannot leave Egypt with food.
Kenya Go Visa has a helpful guide on what is restricted and prohibited, and fruit is one of them.
According to Morocco customs website, vegetables are listed as a restricted item, but not fruit.
The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has made a very helpful guide that you can read and download here, that outlines everything you need to know about flying into or around South Africa, and what you’re allowed to bring in. Fruits and vegetables are a restricted item, so you’ll need to declare them if they’re in your luggage.
Here Are the ‘Safe’ Foods To Bring on a Plane
These are the foods you shouldn’t have a problem with bringing on a plane, or into your country of destination.
- Processed and packaged foods
- Bags of potato chips
- Granola bars
- Packaged trail mix
- Home baked goods
Travel Tips to Meet the ‘less than 100 mL’ Liquid Requirements
100 mL or 3.4 oz is the standard amount of liquid allowed on planes. Anything over this amount will not be allowed on your carry-on luggage. Here’s some tips to
For water bottles, make sure the bottle is empty before going through security. Even if it holds more than 100 mL, it should be allowed through as long as its empty. Then, you can fill up the water bottle after you go through security. This saves you from having to buy a $7 water bottle.
For additional meal and snacking options, consider bringing oatmeal packets or protein powders – and then just ask for hot or cold water on the plane to mix!
For cosmetics and beauty supplies, consider buying a high-quality convenient beauty travel kit which are specifically made to meet the less than 100 mL liquid rule. I have Aesop’s Departure Kit and I love it. Not only are the products scent-free, but they’re high quality and help keep my skin looking healthy on the airplane.
Conclusion: Can you Bring fruit on a plane?
Generally, an apple, banana or clementine on your carry-on shouldn’t be a problem. Is it 100% guaranteed that it’ll pass through security? No, but in most cases, it will.
Reminder: Security has the ultimate say on what is allowed in your carry-on
I’ve had things confiscated in the past that probably shouldn’t have been; a water bottle at the gate that I purchase after going through security, and my husband had a ham sandwich taken away once. Security officers have been given their job for a reason, and they have the prerogative to take whatever away they deem necessary.
As you’ve seen from this guide, most -if not all -countries have restrictions on fruits and vegetables entering their country from abroad, so if you have fruit products in your carry-on, they should at the very least be eaten before you land. It’s possible though that fruits and veggies can be denied on your carry-on because of the strict rules in your destination country.
Fruit as a snack on your carry-on shouldn’t usually be a problem, but its good to have a back up plan just in case. To be extra safe however, make sure you have other snacks in your carry-on besides the fruit, such as crackers, baked goods or trail mix. That way, if it does get taken away, then you still have something else to snack on.