2 min article

Food policy

You can list most food items on eBay, but there are some exceptions.

We take the health and safety of our members very seriously, so when creating your listing it's important that you include the expiration date and explain how you'll deliver the item safely without spoilage. Then when posting a food item, make sure it's packed and sealed correctly.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

How can I learn about government regulations related to selling food items?

Understand both federal and state laws when listing food items. You can learn about laws relating to food sales from these websites:

Can I sell baby formula?

Baby formula requires specific wording in the listing. Check the expiration date before you sell, and make sure it's clear on your listing. You'll need to include this paragraph in your listing, in the same font size as the rest of the description and with the expiration date filled in:

This baby formula is not expired – the expiration date is [mm/dd/yyyy].

It's against eBay policy to sell expired baby formula.

Read our full policy

Food policy overview

Before listing food and healthcare items, be sure to familiarize yourself with federal and state laws and regulations. These items must:

  • Have a clearly marked expiration or use by date
  • Be delivered to the buyer before they expire
  • Not be altered or changed in any way
  • Be stored safely before you ship them

When you list these types of items, you're certifying that you've met all safety conditions. You may also want to read our Medical drugs, devices, and healthcare policy.

Make sure your listing follows these guidelines. If it doesn't, it may be removed, and you may be subject to a range of other actions, including limits of your buying and selling privileges and suspension of your account.

What are the guidelines?

Food items

Allowed Allowed
  • Wild morel and shiitake mushrooms
  • Caviar from non-sturgeon species can be shipped internationally, but you must clearly identify the species in the listing
 
Restricted Restricted
  • Sturgeon caviar is restricted to domestic shipping only
  • Cheese made with raw (unpasteurized) milk, provided that it complies with the FDA guidelines
  • Perishable items are allowed, but you must clearly identify the following details in your item description:
    • how you'll safely deliver the items to the buyer (for example, provide overnight shipping)
    • make sure the items are properly sealed
  • All food and related products should be packaged or sealed to make sure that the buyer can tell if they have been tampered with
  • All food items must have been stored safely prior to shipment, and in compliance with all storage directions on the item's packaging
  • Baby formula can be listed only if all of the following conditions are met:
    • Your listing specifies the expiration date of the formula and includes the following text:​

This baby formula is not expired – the expiration date is [mm/dd/yyyy]. It's against eBay policy to sell expired baby formula.

We recommend copying and pasting the text into your item description, and then replacing "mm/dd/yyyy" with the formula's expiration date. Use the same font size used in the rest of your description.

  • All items must be delivered to buyers before the clearly marked expiration or "use by" date. All listings for food items are required to show the expiration date in the listing
 
Not allowed Not allowed
  • Listings containing drug claims
  • Listings that claim the item is intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in humans and/or animals
  • Unpasteurized dairy products
  • Fruit or vegetable juice that hasn't been heat pasteurized
  • Wild mushrooms
  • Ackee fruit (including seeds)
  • Food items that are subject to recall by the FDA - opens in new window or tab
  • Expired food items
  • Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) that have been expired for more than 3 years
  • Government assistance benefits including, but not limited to:
    • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
    • Supplemental foods such as infant formula and baby food
    • Cash-value vouchers
    • Food instruments such as vouchers, checks, electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards, and coupons
 

Additional information

Follow federal and state laws when listing food items. Here are a few examples:

  • Ingredients: Federal and state laws require labels to state, among other things, the food's ingredients, nutrition information, and place of manufacture
  • Food licenses: Almost all states require food manufacturers and sellers to register with or obtain a license from the state.
  • Import/export: Laws restrict the import and export of many food products

To learn more about laws relating to food sales, visit these websites:

Why does eBay have this policy?

The sale of food and healthcare items is highly regulated so be sure you follow all federal and state laws and regulations before buying or selling these items on eBay.

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