Can You Take Food to Samoa?
The self-catering holiday is a surefire way to reduce your travel budget for Samoa. Some travellers even like to go a step further and bring their own food from back home! But, with strict biosecurity rules at the borders of Samoa, you will be required to declare all of your food items and likely have them inspected. While some foods can pass through biosecurity without issue, other food items require an import permit. See what food you can take to Samoa in this guide and find out if it’s really worth the space in your luggage!
Do You Really Need to Take Food to Samoa?
Before you start filling your “chilly bin”, maybe you should consider if you really need to bring food to Samoa.
Samoa is well supplied with supermarkets and village convenience stores seemingly around every corner. You’ll certainly be able to access a range of food from Samoan, Chinese, New Zealand and Australian brands with each shop stocking something different. As for the cost of food, prices are either on par or just a bit more expensive than in New Zealand (but more expensive than in the US or Asia). Check out typical food prices in The Cost of Food in Samoa: Restaurant & Grocery Prices.
In short, unless you have snacks that you can’t live without or a special diet that is usually difficult to manage when overseas (although, check Samoa for Vegans & Vegetarians and The Gluten-Free Guide to Samoa may help you out), we don’t recommend taking up precious luggage space to bring food to Samoa.
Tips for Taking Food to Samoa
Whatever food you decide to take to Samoa, here are some tips we recommend for taking it:
- Declare on your Passenger Arrival Card if you are taking any food to Samoa, even if you think it is allowed
- Write a list of all of the food you are bringing into Samoa, so you can show it to Customs and Biosecurity officers on arrival – this makes for a much quicker and easier process
- Pack food in your check-in luggage; not your carry-on, as many foods are not allowed through airport security
- Make sure all of your food is commercially packaged and clearly states the country of origin. Otherwise, you may need to lodge an import permit
- If you are bringing meat or fruit/vegetables into Samoa, you must submit them to an import inspection at the Animal and Plant Quarantine counter after they have retrieved their baggage.
For some general tips for your trip to Samoa, check out the 30 Tips for Travelling in Samoa.
What Food Can You Bring to Samoa?
The good news is that arrival passengers can bring a wide variety of food into Samoa, whether it’s cheese, chocolate or a packet of your favourite chips. You can even bring alcohol to Samoa, as long as the quantity doesn’t exceed the duty-free allowance.
The conditions for most food imports by air passengers is that they must be commercially packaged and clearly state the country of origin – so this is a good rule to go by when choosing food to take with you to Samoa. Note that you must still declare all food you wish to bring into Samoa and biosecurity officers may still inspect food, even if it’s permitted.
There are some foods, however, that have certain restrictions, such as meat and plant products. Learn more about these restrictions in the sections below.
The Meat You Can Take to Samoa (with Restrictions)
Arrival passengers can bring meat to Samoa, as long as it meets certain criteria. As well as being commercially prepared and packaged in unbroken packaging, most meat must be from either Australia, New Zealand or the United States to go through biosecurity without a permit. However, you must still submit them to an import inspection at the Animal and Plant Quarantine counter after they have retrieved their baggage.
Although you can legally bring the below list of food into Samoa you still must declare it. Biosecurity officers may still inspect the food mentioned.
The maximum quantity of meat products which may be imported as passenger’s baggage and for personal use must not exceed 10kg (22lbs). Otherwise, there are additional paperwork and fees.
- Beef/venison/buffalo (e.g. sausage, luncheon, saveloy, meat, hot dogs, frankfurts, pies) can be cooked or uncooked including frozen, smoked, salted, dried and chilled. The country of origin must be Australia, New Zealand, the US or Vanuatu.
- Poultry (e.g. turkey, duck, chicken, ostrich and in the form of carcasses, pieces, sausage, luncheon meat, frankfurts and offal) can be cooked or uncooked including frozen, smoked, dried and chilled. The country of origin must be Australia, New Zealand or the US.
- Pig meats (e.g. ham, sausage, bacon, saveloy, luncheon meat, hot dogs, pies, salami and frankfurts) can be frozen or cooked from Australia, New Zealand or the US, or chilled ONLY can come from Australia or New Zealand.
- Sheep and goat meats (e.g. mutton and lamb) can be cooked or uncooked including frozen, smoked, salted, dried and chilled. The country of origin must be Australia or New Zealand.
- Sheep offal must be frozen or cooked. The country of origin must be Australia, New Zealand or the US.
- Milk products (e.g. yoghurt, cheese, milk, ice cream and UHT products) must be commercially packaged. The country of origin must be Australia, New Zealand or the US.
Note that there are different conditions for meat coming from American Samoa, which you can read up on in the Ministry of Agriculture’s Quarantine Manual.
The Plant-Based Food You Can Take to Samoa
Although most foods have some sort of plant product within their ingredients, there are still a lot of plant-based foods you can bring to Samoa without having to obtain a permit. As a general rule, the more processed the food is, the more likely it will be allowed to pass biosecurity without an import permit. Again, make sure they are commercially packaged and the country of origin is clearly stated.
An example list of plant-based foods that you can bring to Samoa includes but is not limited to:
- Canned vegetables (cabbages, carrots, eggplant, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet corn, etc.)
- Canned fruit (mango, peaches, plums, mixed fruits cherries, etc.)
- Potato chips
- Cakes (muffins, puddings, Christmas cakes, etc.)
- Tortilla wraps
- Cooking oils (virgin, olive, vegetable, etc.)
- Peanut butter
- Tomato sauce
- Tea leaf (processed in packets)
- Cooked root crops (yams, taro, cassava, breadfruit).
See a full list of plant-based foods that you can import with and without a permit at the Ministry of Agriculture’s Quarantine page.
What Food Can You Not Take to Samoa (Without a Permit)?
By this point, you’re probably wondering what food isn’t allowed in Samoa. The food that you cannot bring into Samoa without an import permit includes but is not limited to:
- Fresh fruit
- Fresh vegetables
- Dried fruit
- Dried vegetables
Some of the food listed above may be allowed into Samoa with an import permit. Otherwise, you will likely be asked to either lodge an application for import, be asked to abandon the item, be permitted to re-export the item, or the item will be destroyed at your expense. Note that you will not be entitled to re-export the item if you did not declare it.
Frequently Asked Questions About Taking Food to Samoa
What are the most asked questions about taking food to Samoa? We have the answers!
Can You Take Cheese to Samoa?
You can take cheese to Samoa which is commercially packaged and from New Zealand, Australia or the US. Just make sure to declare it on arrival! Cheese from other countries may require an import permit.
Can You Take Milk to Samoa?
You can take milk to Samoa which has been commercially prepared and packaged in New Zealand, Australia or the United States. Dairy products from other countries may require an import permit.
Can You Take Alcohol to Samoa?
Yes, you can take alcohol to Samoa if you are 21 years old and above and the alcohol does not exceed the duty-free allowance of 2.25 litres (76 oz). See The Duty-Free Allowances for Samoa for more details.
Can You Take Food From New Zealand to Samoa?
Yes, you can take food from New Zealand to Samoa apart from fresh/dried fruit and vegetables, eggs and seeds. Food must be commercially prepared and packaged.
Can You Take Frozen Meat to Samoa?
You can bring frozen meat to Samoa providing that it meets the conditions set out by the Samoa Ministry of Agriculture and comes from approved countries. See “The Meat You Can Bring to Samoa (with Restrictions)” section above.
More About Taking Food to Samoa
Now that you know what food you can take to Samoa, here are more guides about what else you can bring to Samoa.
- What to Declare When Arriving in Samoa
- 20 Essentials You Need to Pack for Samoa
- Arriving in Samoa: Airport Customs, Biosecurity & the Arrival Process
Finally, make the process of arriving in Samoa as smooth as possible following our Arriving at Faleolo Airport, Samoa: A Step-by-Step Guide.