Milk/Cheese from France -- Customs

Old Oct 2nd, 2007, 06:30 AM
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Milk/Cheese from France -- Customs

OK, I know the cheese thing has been discussed, but what about bringing milk through customs (I know... weird, but I love it and swear it is different there.) I'm guessing it is a no-no, but thought I'd ask.

As for cheese, let me see if I have this: get soft cheese vacuum-sealed and put in carry-on (or checked?)

Thanks all!
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Old Oct 2nd, 2007, 06:35 AM
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ira
 
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Hi t,

A. It will have to be in your checked luggage, unless it is 3 oz or less.

2. Raw milk products are generally not allowed.

C. Vacuum sealing soft cheeses causes them to be squashed flat.

See www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/vacation/kbyg

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Old Oct 2nd, 2007, 06:36 AM
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You cannot vacuum seal fresh cheese, only aged. They're not going to let you bring milk through. I'm sure you can go to the customs website to get additional information.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2007, 06:59 AM
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to sandi... I simply don't think this is true, from a practical standpoint. It might be true according to Ag Department regulations, but I don't see how milk can be distinguished from wine or any other permitted liquids in checked baggage.

Of course, for flights of trans-atlantic length (travlingirl42 doesn't say what country's customs she will have to deal with, but I am guessing that she means US customs)... milk will either have to be in aseptic containers (e.g., Parmalat) or provision will have to be made to keep it at about 5 degree Celsius or less in the checked bag.

I just brought home a large duffel bag containing six (0.75 liter) bottles of wine, one magnum (1.5 liter), and three other bottles of alcoholic beverages, and customs showed no interest in what was in any of them (all were listed on my declaration form). My cardboard packaging would not have been adequate to maintain the necessary temperature for milk, but I probably could have managed to do that with styrofoam packing. My sister-inlaw traveled with a special purpose-made "roll-aboard" (she checked it, of course) for carrying wine, with six bottles - - similarly ignored. I think that either one could have contained milk.

On a related note - - and this is a legitimate problem in air travel safety/security (and I'm certainly not advocating doing anything dangerous or felonious) - - if properly sealed, the same bottles could contain almost any other kind of liquid as well.

Best wishes,

Rex
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Old Oct 2nd, 2007, 07:25 AM
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I'd be less concerned about customs than the cheese in checked luggage with clothing. The smell will definitely transfer to all of the items in the luggage and it may not wash away, especially if you have synthetic fabrics. I would highly suggest a separate bag for the cheese and milk.

I have never had a problem with brining cheese, wine or even absinthe (which is illegal) -- customs does not seem to bother with looking, as the other posters have said. On the other hand, after a long flight, the cheese becomes quite pungent and not so pleasant smelling, though it still tastes good.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2007, 07:33 AM
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Doesn't the vacuum-seal handle the smell issue?
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Old Oct 2nd, 2007, 07:38 AM
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>Doesn't the vacuum-seal handle the smell issue?

No. Plastic is permeable to odors.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2007, 11:58 AM
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Just going by what I thought to have read here before which was that fresh cheeses could not be taken through customs.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2007, 12:49 PM
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i have done it with no problem--customs officers tend not to know the difference between fresh/unpasteurized and kraft.

That sounded snottier than it was meant to.

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Old Oct 2nd, 2007, 01:06 PM
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It is my understanding that one may bring back cheese from unpasteurized milk for personal consumption. But the local customs official might not know that. As for sealing, I've had Langres plastic sealed; it did not look pretty on arrival. I think that the cheese must also be placed in the checked-in luggage because soft cheese are treated like gels when going through security. To minimize the odor, one should plan on consuming the cheese a few days after arrival and have the vendor take that into account.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2007, 01:17 PM
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I have never been questioned about cheese, but I have quadruple wrapped stinky varieties (Munster...) to avoid unnecessary attention. Aluminum foil, ziploc bags inside other ziploc bags, whatever... (I can still smell it anyway, but maybe they think it is just filthy laundry.) Cheese they can't smell they don't even look at.

I really can't imagine why they would stop milk (or butter) since cheese is officially authorized when pasteurized.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2007, 01:23 PM
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Would fresh milk still be fresh after several hours of schlepping through a French airport, a transatlantic flight and your journey home?
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Old Oct 2nd, 2007, 02:35 PM
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That is the first thing that came to mind when I read the first message. Maybe the poster wants to bring some cartons of UHT milk back? That would certainly fulfill the remark about "tasting different." I know that Air France smilingly accepts to put fresh items in cold storage on the plane when you ask them nicely. My wife has smuggled large quantities of smoked salmon back to the US using this method on numerous occasions.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2007, 02:39 PM
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"Vacuum sealing soft cheeses causes them to be squashed flat." - but can you "plump them back up" by soaking in milk?

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Old Oct 2nd, 2007, 02:58 PM
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Only if you use imported French milk.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2007, 01:36 AM
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Intriguing smuggling ideas. Food for thought.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2007, 01:43 AM
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UHT milk in the usual cartons has a shelf live of several months even at room temperature, if it hasn't been opened. Canned and sterilized milk can last for years. However, pasteurized, microfiltered, and raw milk are unlikely to survive a transatlantic trip without starting to turn unless they are refrigerated continuously.

Why bring milk back from France, anyway? It's pretty much the same as milk in other developed countries.
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