Bringing sealed food home from Europe

Old Jan 30th, 2007, 02:54 PM
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Bringing sealed food home from Europe

Anyone know what's allowed as far as bringing sealed (as in bottles) of food from Europe? We'd be a bit scared of putting something like that in our checked luggage as that gets knocked around a lot and it could break and make a big mess. So thought, if it comes up, bringing home food in carry-on, but don't know if it's allowed (will be flying into and out of JFK).
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 03:03 PM
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When I return to the US from Europe, my bags are always full of food. The biggest no-nos are fresh fruit and vegetables and any kind of meat products. We bring cheese, dried herbs, tomato products, pasta, honey, flour, preserved fruits, etc. etc. etc.
We declare everything and have never had a problem.

Here's the link to the customs website outlining the rules:
http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/cl...provedProducts
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 03:05 PM
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Yes but how do you get it home. Carry on or checked bag?
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 03:14 PM
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It is very easy to bring food home. Just bring lots of zip loc plastic bags and some aluminum foil and wrap the things well before putting them into your checked luggage. It is a little more tricky now with the new regs but you can still bring pounds and pounds of great stuff home with you. If it is in a glass bottle or jar, just wrap well with bubble wrap and clothes.

I do not believe that all meat products are banned by the way, although pork products are a no no.
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 03:36 PM
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All meat products are banned. Here is what US Customs says:

"Meat and Animal Products and Byproducts
Fresh, dried, or canned meats and meat byproducts are prohibited entry into the United States from most foreign countries because of the continuing threat of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or mad cow disease), and other animal diseases. If meat from restricted countries is used in preparing a product (e.g., beef broth), the product is usually prohibited."

I bring stuff in my checked baggage, never carryon. I pack it like ekscrunchy describes. I usually double or triple bag anything I think will leak. I have never had anything leak in to my luggage.
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 04:06 PM
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And poultry products are now banned. I've brought canned meat pates home with no problems , declaring them and having them passed thru, but even canned cooked foie gras was confiscated on our last trrip.
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 04:15 PM
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Jody - did you pack it in your checked luggage or carry-on? Thinking about jams - glass, could crack on checked luggage.

Everyone - you declare it even if it's checked luggage?
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 04:28 PM
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I declare everything, checked baggage or not.

As for packing, I bring honey in glass jars pretty much everytime I return to the US. I wrap tape around the lid of the jar. I then put it in a zip lock. and tape the zip lock around the jar. I then put it in another zip lock and tape that. Then I wrap it in my clothes to cushion it well. As I said before, I have never had a problem.
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Old Jan 31st, 2007, 03:37 AM
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Eleni I do not want to get into a long debate here but trust me; not ALL meat products are banned from entry into the US. The web site says from MOST countries. What you are allowed to bring in varies from country to country.

If you want to read a very long and amazingly informative thread written by an agent from the US Customs service, look at www.chowhound.com and search for "US Customs Questions" If the thread is still ongoing, you can post individual questions and he will answer them. The upshot of the thread was, by th way, that fois gras from France is ok to bring back to the US, that all pork from Italy is out, and that cured beef from Italy, ie bresaola, was possible. And just about any European cheese except very young cheese is ok as well. If there is a doubt, he advises calling the local office before you leave for your trip and put the specific questions to them.
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Old Jan 31st, 2007, 05:08 AM
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Well, if Foie gras is okay I wish someone would tell the customs people at JFK!
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Old Jan 31st, 2007, 05:12 AM
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The problem is that enforcement is arbitrary; you can ask to see a supervisor if you feel that the agent is not justified. Read the thread on chowhound that I mentioned for tons of information from the source.
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Old Jan 31st, 2007, 05:30 AM
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I do the opposite...bringing food items back from the U.S. to Europe. In my checked suitcase, I put them (well wrapped and cushioned in ziploc bags) into plastic Tupperware type containers (on the way to the U.S. the containers hold toiletries, sock, underwear whatever). Provides extra protection for the items and even if they do get broken, the damage is fully contained.
Re foie gras, it may be permissible to take it back to the US, but it may (probably wil) also be counted as a "liquid", so don't plan on keeping it in your carry-on. Some airports also lump marzipan into the liquid category, so if you're bringing back some lovely German marzipan, put that in your checked luggage as well.
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Old Jan 31st, 2007, 05:39 AM
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Okay, I posted on Chowhound with all the circumstances detailed.
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Old Jan 31st, 2007, 06:08 AM
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Jody, you need to search on Chowhound for the thread I mentioned above..it is very long and covers all of the bases. Just posting is not going to do the trick as well as reading what has already been written by the US custom's agent, who posts with the moniker, "The Man."
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Old Jan 31st, 2007, 06:12 AM
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To make it even simpler, go to www.chowhound.com.

Go to the Not About Food board.

Search for the thread entitled, "Anyone with US Customs Questions?"
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Old Jan 31st, 2007, 07:30 AM
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ekscrunchy,
Thank you for the Chow.com link. Off to Spain this Fall with side to France (Pays Basque)...hurts about the Ham
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Old Jan 31st, 2007, 10:47 AM
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Ekscrunchy, thanks for the reference to the Chowhound discussion. Here is the direct link, for anyone interested:
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/3539...u.s.%20customs
When reading it, I kept in mind that the opinions expressed, although apparently from an actual customs agent, were only one person's interpretation. As Jody discovered, in an agency made up of individuals, you will always get different interpretations that may or may not be consistent with what the Chowhound poster indicated.

What was most interesting was the advice to search for the customs PPQ manual (i got it just by googling ppq manual), and to look at the matrix for what can/can not be brought into the US. Here is the link for the meat products manual; the matrix for what you can bring in from each country starts at page 15 of this manual:
http://www.tiny.cc/MeatProductsManual

On the matrix, "P" stands for prohibited. I guess the accurate thing to say is that returning from Europe no meat or meat products are allowed, with the exception of some cooked poultry products, and depending on the customs inspector you get and your willingness to get in a dispute with the customs inspector if their interpretation differs from what you think is right.
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Old Feb 1st, 2007, 03:41 AM
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Don't forget, it's not only what you can bring into the U.S., it's also about what European airports will allow you to take out. As I noted in an earlier post, Brussels airport has announced that foie gras (including canned) is counted as a liquid and can NOT be taken in carrry-on, no matter what the U.S. policy is. Ditto for marzipan, Nutella, and a host of other foodstuffs that the paasenger may not consider "liquid." If you don't put those in your checked luggage, you'll be leaving them at the airport.
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Old Feb 1st, 2007, 03:48 AM
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Hi all,

One of the things to keep in mind is that the rules regarding what can be brought into the US are set by the Dept of Agriculture (USDA) and enforced by Customs and Border Protection.

USDA changes the rules constantly, depending on what diseases are going around.

So, you might be able to bring in foie gras from France one day, but not the next.

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