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Office of Allowances

Frequently Asked Questions
Consumables Shipments


1. Q: What are "consumables"? 

2. Q: What are not considered consumables?

3. Q: How is a foreign post designated for a consumables shipment?

4. Q: What foreign posts are currently designated to receive consumables shipment?

5. Q: Where can I find out more about consumables?


1. Q:  What are "consumables"? 
A: Consumables are referred to as expendable personal property because they are used up, as opposed to wearing out. There are three categories of consumables:
Foodstuff - Edible foodstuff, e.g. canned tuna or foodstuff that is edible as part of prepared items, such as flour, sugar, salt and shortening which are used to make cake.  Edible consumables directly satisfy the need for food and nourishment.

Personal Maintenance - Non-edible consumables include items that are used for personal maintenance such as toiletries, deodorant, toothpaste and personal hygiene products.

Household Maintenance - Non-edible consumables used for the maintenance of the household such as paper products and liquid household cleaners that cannot be shipped in Household Effects (HHE)/Household Goods (HHG) due to normal shipping restrictions.

2. Q:  What are not considered consumables? 
A: Consumables do not include items to maintain an automobile or other machinery.  Items such as car batteries and tires are not consumables and are prohibited in Consumable Shipments.      
3. Q:  How is a foreign post designated for a consumables shipment? 
A: Foreign posts submit the Consumables Survey (DS-0267A) biennially according to the reporting requirement in DSSR 920 (allowances by location) under the Post Hardship Differential column.  The Office of Allowances (A/OPR/ALS) within the U.S. Department of State reviews information submitted by the post along with other criteria to determine posts requiring a consumables shipment.  A post requiring a consumables shipment is one at which conditions make it difficult to obtain locally the consumables required by employees and their eligible family members.  Once a post is designated for a consumables shipment an authorizing officer shall authorize a separate weight allowance for the shipment of consumables, in addition to the Household Effects (HHE)/Household Goods (HHG) weight allowance. 
4. Q:  What foreign posts are currently designated to receive a consumables shipment? 
A: The Office of Allowances maintains a list of posts currently authorized consumables shipments.  
5. Q:  Where can I find out more about consumables? 
A: The following areas of the Foreign Affairs Manual (Foreign Affairs Agency regulations) provide helpful information and guidance.  Volume 14 FAM 613.6 (Shipping Consumables); 14 FAM 613.6-1 (Criteria for Consumables); and 14 FAM 613.6-2 (Justification).