What food can you take to the United States?

Have you ever looked at “Customs under close surveillance”? This television program may seem a little excessive, but nevertheless shows the reality of the services of certain customs aerial. Any violation related to food in particular can be very expensive, as explains the American channel CNN.

In July, a passenger from Indonesia and bound for Australia, for example, received a fine of 1,874 dollars (1,817 euros) for carrying two McMuffin and a ham croissant.

A young Australian woman also had to pay a fine of 1,844 dollars because she had forgotten to declare the rest of her subway sandwich bought in Singapore. Some fines can go up to 10,000 dollars (9,700 euros), according to CNN.

France Diplomacy does not mention the specificities of Australian customs, but notes on the other hand that “American customs are very vigilant about food products: entry with non-sterilized products (such as cheeses or cold cuts) or green plants is strictly prohibited”.

In 2021, according to data from US Customs and Border Protection, border guards conducted inspections on nearly 630,150 passengers who had not declared their edible products. The declaration of these foodstuffs applies to entry into United States territory, whether by air, sea or land.

Why these bans?

The Customs Service justifies this somewhat harsh policy by the need to prevent the introduction of pests into the United States. These parasites could have a destructive effect on farming local. In 2021, customs officials discovered nearly 264 different pests entering US ports.

“We are working with the The Minister of Agriculture and the health inspection services to avoid any introduction of bacterial contaminants”explained one of the spokespersons of the American customs.

Here is a little reminder before leaving for Uncle Sam’s country:

  • In my suitcase for the United States, I can slip…

    Condiments, bread, cakes and any other baked or cooked product. The list of these foods is accessible on the customs website.

  • In my suitcase for the United States, there is no…

    Meat, poultry, dairy products, eggs. Imports of animal and bird feed are prohibited for countries with cases of mad cow disease, foot-and-mouth disease, Avian Flu and of swine flu.

Almost all fresh or frozen fruit is prohibited from entering the United States.

Passengers who declare the products in their suitcase do not incur any sanction, even if the food is not accepted. The food will then be destroyed.

“An apple or a snack can be brought in by mistake and it won’t always be a major incident”, explains the spokesperson for customs. The easiest thing is perhaps to bring nothing and discover the local culinary specialties.

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