Trade Facilitation Unit - Food Import Conditions

  1. The following Medium to high risk foods will require an Import Permit
    1. Coconut Water
    2. Honey
    3. Fresh Table Eggs and Egg Products
    4. Milk and Milk Products
    5. Tree Nuts and Nut Products
    6. Peanuts
    7. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
    8. Breakfast Cereals
    9. Infant Cereals and Formulas
    10. Raw Meat
    11. Cheese
    12. Fish and Fish Products
    13. Coconut By-products
  2. All raw or minimally processed plant and animal food products require a permit, regardless of quantity;
  3. All processed frozen or refrigerated animal products exceeding **50 lbs will require a permit;
  4. All foods of plant or animal origin will be assessed in collaboration with the Directors of Plant Protection and/or Animal Health and Production, respectively;
  5. All foods which have been aseptically packaged and hermetically or vacuum sealed do not require a permit;
  6. Provide a current business license that qualifies exporters for general trading activity;
  7. Indicate the Competent Authority of the exporting country; (e.g., Food Safety Authority of Country);
  8. Include a Health certificate from the competent authority of the country of origin or country of export;
  9. Include a Certificate of Origin from the exporting country (an original or authorized stamped copy);
  10. Meet the labeling requirements prescribed in Section 23 of the Bahamas Agricultural Health and Food Safety Authority (BAHFSA), Food Safety and Quality Act (2016) -;
  11. Agricultural goods may be subject to import requirements based on a risk assessment;
  12. Include the Phytosanitary certificate for foods of plant origin, where applicable, as indicated for the Phytosanitary Import Permit; (the import permit number shall match that which is on the Phytosanitary certificate); and likewise, a sanitary certificate for foods of animal origin, where applicable;
  13. Submit temperature records for the entire food transport period for cold (refrigerated) and frozen consignments;
  14. Submit a packing list with the date when consignment was loaded by the exporter; the types and quantities of food, their description, production/manufacturing, and expiry dates for each type/ batch;
  15. A Bill of entry/Customs declaration or Delivery order or Bill of Lading;
  16. The importer shall provide the supporting documentation proving the truthfulness of any product health claims;
  17. Inspection by a Department of Agriculture designated Food Safety Inspector and Bahamas Customs Officer shall occur before a consignment is released;
  18. Consignments not listed and/or with quantities more than is stated on the import application, phytosanitary or sanitary certificates and invoices, shall be confiscated and destroyed;
  19. Consignments that have been inspected may be sampled for analysis. A consignment that does not meet or satisfy the import conditions may be re-exported to the country of origin at the expense of the exporter and/or importer; or shall be destroyed at the expense of the importer;
  20. Any additional documents or certificates related to food safety.

*Any food can create a risk once consumed, especially if it tends to spoil more readily due to poor storage or cooking conditions where harmful bacteria, viruses and parasites find it conducive to grow. These foods may present health risks to vulnerable populations such as pregnant women, young children (age 5 and under), the elderly and persons with weakened immune systems (e.g., Cancer, HIV/AIDS, Diabetes). There are three levels of risks associated with food and they are low-, medium- and high-risk foods, however, some foods are likely to be reclassified based on risks associated with food fraud such as the alteration, adulteration, mislabeling, substitution, dilution, misrepresentation or contamination of food.

Low-risk foods
are foods that are unlikely to contain pathogenic organisms and will not support their growth, or introduce microbial, physical or chemical hazards to other foods. They include foods that are high in sugar, acids, salt or that have little available moisture; or dry foods or canned and vacuum-packed foods.

Medium-risk foods
are foods that:

a. may contain harmful natural toxins or chemicals introduced at steps earlier in the food supply chain, or that:

b. may contain pathogenic microorganisms but will not normally support the formation of toxins or growth of pathogens due to food characteristics; or,

c. are unlikely to contain pathogenic microorganisms due to food type or processing but may support the formation of toxins or growth of pathogenic microorganisms.

These include foods such as fruit juices, canned meats, dairy products, milk based confectionery and fruits and vegetables

High-risk foods
are foods that may contain pathogenic microorganisms and will support the formation of toxins or the growth of pathogenic microorganisms. These include foods such as cooked or raw meats, cooked or raw eggs, deli meats, seafood, dairy products, prepared fruits and vegetables, cooked rice, fresh or cooked pasta, unpasteurized juices, sauces and gravies (with meat or seafood).

**this is subject to change and will be considered on a case by case basis.