Bringing food to Bermuda

 
So you are visiting Bermuda on a vacation and planning to bring in food. Why? Trying to save money or hassle of finding a grocery store which would have the food of your choice? Well, you should carefully think through before you take a call to carry food on your trip to Bermuda. 
 
First, virtually everything is available in Bermuda that you get in the US or UK. There are plenty of convenience and grocery stores all over the island which are easily reachable. 
 
 
 
Well the cost would be 25 to 40% higher in general compared to US market price, but on a short vacation of few days, will it make a lot of difference in terms of dollars? I agree that the amount could be considerable if your stay is for a week or longer, or you have several persons in your family. 
 
But how much can you bring? What about duty on food? While some items like cereals, bulgur wheat, malt, potato flour & flakes, prepared foods for infant including formula, rice, sugar, wheat & cereal flours, milk, cream are duty free, all other food items will attract considerable duty. 
 
Duty on many food items can reach up to 25% offsetting any benefit of cost you would have had. And some items like meat which too is dutiable, have a limitation on quantity you can bring (up to 20 pounds per person, otherwise you must carry a certificate documenting your need for higher personal consumption). You can not bring in some prohibited dairy products like raw milk, pasteurized milk, ultra-pasteurized milk, ultra heat treated milk and manufactured milk. If you must, then you need prior authorization from the concerned minister of Agriculture in Bermuda. 
 
 
We are flying to Bermuda and would like to bring along our own favorite snack foods (ex: prepackaged nuts, crackers, peanut butter, canned tuna, tea bags)to use while on the island for a week. Do we need to declare these at customs? Are they dutiable? 
 
Margie (January 2011) 
 
 
Hi, 
 
Yes, you can bring them along but you will need to make customs declarations and they are dutiable. Here is an extract from Bermuda Customs regulations: 
 
'Canned, preserved or frozen fruits and vegetables may be imported by travelers in any quantities. 
 
Goods (including foodstuffs and beverages) in excess of the duty free allowances are subject to duty. Most goods imported by air or by sea in accompanied passenger’s baggage are dutiable at 25% of their value'. 
 
(Note : Most of the food stuff except few items are not covered in duty free allowances. Only personal belongings, 200 cigarettes, 1 liter of liquor, and 1 liter of wine are duty free). Hope this helps. 
 
Raj  (bermuda-attractions.com) January 2011 
 
 
 
I am confused as to bringing in foodstuffs for personal use. Is there a minimum amount that requires no declaration or duty? Would we really have to pay duty on a jar of peanut butter, rice, chips and macaroni & cheese? If so, is the duty going to negate the savings of bringing it in? Finally, is it more trouble than it is worth to declare? Thanks. 
 
William Wilburn (June 2011) 
 
 
Hi, 
 
Virtually all food stuff that you bring to Bermuda attract a duty of certain percentage of their assessed value, except a few items like rice, wheat, breakfast cereals etc which are duty free. If a food item is dutiable, you are required to pay duty on the whole amount and there is no minimum limit which is duty free. 
 
Having said that, I know of many cases where people have brought in foodstuff in their checked in baggage, didn't declare, and could get through the customs without paying duty. In other occasions, the duty officers themselves may be lenient enough to let you go with a smile if the quantities are not too much. 
 
In some website forums, I have noticed that some visitors who practiced this and were successful, are treating it as normal and advising others to follow the same. But the fact is, they are flouting the rules and always taking a chance. So is it worth taking the chance? Here is my take on this: 
 
If you are visiting the island only for a few days, how much of food can you carry and how much can you really save? May be a few dollars. And compared to the total cost of your trip, that may be a negligible amount. 
 
I can understand that convenience may be a factor. But the fact is, there are hundreds of well stocked stores all around the island and you can virtually find everything that you get in the U.S or UK. Well they may be more expensive because almost everything in Bermuda is imported. But if you take into account the duty that you are likely to pay on declared food, that offsets the difference to a large extent although not fully. 
 
Not declaring in my view is wrong and I would personally advise against it, unless you are prepared to take the chance, wait at the customs to spend couple of hours talking to the duty officers to convince them why you did so and then eventually pay the duty. 
 
Check out the following link on my website to know what items are duty free and what are not, and pack your food accordingly: Bermuda Customs Duty 
 
Regards, 
 
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) June 2011 
 
 
 
My questions are: 
 
If I bring cereal does it have to be in the original box or can I put servings in zip lock bags? Do other snack foods (chips, popped popcorn) have to be in original packaging? Are these types of snacks duty free? Can I bring packaged protein bars, and ready to drink packaged protein hakes (don't require refrigeration)? Are these items duty free? Thank you sooo much!! 
 
Monica Matocha (July 2015) 
 
 
Hi, 
 
Firstly all food items must be in your checked-in baggage and not in hand bags. It is advisable that you bring food items in their original sealed packages so that prices and dates of expiry are clearly visible. This will help the customs determine the assessed value for any applicable duty. However for small quantities and food that are allowed for import, you can bring them in ziplock bags. 
 
To know which items are allowed, which are not and the duty rates applicable, go through Duty Rates. If you do not find duty rate for a food item in the above page link, then assume 25% duty. 
 
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) July 2015 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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