Washington, DC - For many, summer means travel to exotic international destinations and an opportunity to bring home tasty, rare, and unusual souvenirs to share with friends and family.
U. S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reminds travelers to take additional precautions in visiting livestock farms and bringing food and agricultural products into the country to prevent the introduction of exotic plant pests, invasive species, and foreign animal diseases.
Travelers should declare all fruits and vegetables and be familiar with items that are prohibited or restricted from entering the United States.
Diseases such as African Swine Fever could devastate our pork industry significantly impacting our Nation’s economy. Additionally, the Mediterranean fruit fly is a destructive and invasive pest that feeds on a plethora of fruits and vegetables that would immensely affect our growers and farmers if introduced into the United States.
“International travel is a highlight of summer vacation for many families, a time to identify with other cultures and embrace our diversity, or just to relax,” said Mikel Tookes, Deputy Executive Director, Agriculture Programs and Trade Liaison. “Travelers arriving in the United States should be aware that many meats, fruits, and vegetables are prohibited or restricted entry and not to purchase certain items abroad, and to please plan ahead to ensure they can bring those items home.”
At ports of entry, CBP officers and agriculture specialists protect the U.S. by enforcing hundreds of laws and regulations, including those regarding prohibited and restricted items. Prohibited items are forbidden by law to enter the United States, often due to safety concerns, whereas restricted items require special licenses or permits from a federal agency before the item is allowed to enter.
The following list depicts popular regulated or restricted souvenirs that CBP Agriculture Specialists frequently encounter from the various listed regions:
Caribbean and Mexico
- green palm items (hats, animals made from palm); Haitian goat hide drums; ackee; Giant African Snails; whole coconuts; live birds; dried cactus; coral; whale bones
- wood carvings; pork legs; absinthe; haggis; seeds and bulbs in ready to grow souvenir containers; fresh sheepskins contaminated with dung (Ireland and Eastern Europe); prosciutto; chestnuts; garlic braids; grape vines; whale sausage; bear sausage; reindeer sausage; and moose sausage (sometimes comes in souvenir three packs from Scandinavian countries); painted eggs
- clothing containing dog or cat fur; souvenir whole spice packages; liquid birds’ nests; ivory statues and figurines; wood carvings; bonsai trees; orchid plants; traditional medicines; pork products
- small keepsake containers of soil from the holy lands; fresh almonds; fresh olives
- ivory jewelry; bush meat; small keepsake containers of soil; biltong meat; dates; crocodile handbags; Nile monitor handbags; snake skin products; goat hide drums
- ancient relics; sweetened condensed milk; live birds
- kangaroo meat
- walrus tusks; golden arowana fish; seal oil; green grapevine decorations
CBP reminds travelers to always declare items brought in from abroad. For more international travel tips, please visit CBP.gov.