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Food and healthcare policy
In this article
In this article

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 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 all safety conditions have been met.

FDA alert: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a consumer alert about counterfeit versions of the over-the-counter weight-loss drug Alli. We strongly recommend that you review this information before buying or selling Alli on the Internet.

To learn more about how to safely and legally sell food and healthcare items, visit the FDA website and read the guidelines and additional information.

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



  • Wild morel and shitake mushrooms

  • Caviar from non-sturgeon species can be shipped internationally, but the species must be clearly stated in the listing



  • 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 have to clearly identify the following details in your item description:

    • how you'll safely deliver the items to the buyer (for example, offer overnight shipping)

    • make sure the items are properly sealed

  • All food and related products should be packaged or sealed to ensure that the buyer can tell if they have been tampered with

  • All food items must have been stored safely prior to shipment and follow 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. Be sure to use the same font size as the rest of your description.

    • You deliver it to the buyer before the expiration date.

    • The item's packaging is intact

    • The container and its contents haven't been tampered with in any way

    • The item has been stored safely.

    • Review the FDA's website for information about baby formula before you list it.

  • 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

  • Non-pasteurized dairy products

  • Fruit or vegetable juice that hasn't been heat pasteurized

  • Wild mushrooms

  • Akee fruit (including seeds)

  • Food items that are subject to recall by the FDA

  • 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

Before selling healthcare or hygiene-related products, be sure to review the relevant information on the FDA's website.



  • Unexpired personal hygiene products

  • New/unopened personal hygiene and cosmetic applicators



  • Over–the-counter (OTC) medications and vitamins can be listed as long as:

    • The packaging is intact and the item hasn't been tampered with

    • The item can be delivered to the buyer before the expiration date

    • The item has been stored safely according to storage directions on the item's packaging

  •  All healthcare and personal hygiene items must be delivered to buyers before the clearly marked expiration or "use by" date. All listings for these items are required to show the expiration date in the listing.

Not allowed

Not allowed

  • Prescription drugs and medications (see the medical drugs and devices policy)

  • Prescription medical devices such as: eye glasses, contact lenses, CPAP machines, oxygen delivery components, etc. (see the medical drugs and devices policy for additional information)

  • Over–the-counter medications that contain pseudoephedrine or ephedrine

  • Products containing ephedra or ma huang

  • Healthcare items subject to recall by the FDA or the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)

  • Expired over-the-counter medications, supplements, health and beauty items

Additional information

Be sure to 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 please make sure you follow all the federal and state laws and regulations before buying or selling these items on eBay.

Contact Customer Support
You can contact Customer Support to report a listing you think violates this policy. Go to that listing, and then click the Report item link on the right side of the page.

We'll review your report and take appropriate action.
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