COVID-19 Travel Advisory: Stay up to date with the latest on the coronavirus pandemic.   Learn More >

Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

URGENT: Customs - what can i bring home from Italy??????

URGENT: Customs - what can i bring home from Italy??????

Old May 12th, 2009, 07:47 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 79
URGENT: Customs - what can i bring home from Italy??????

I'm getting ready to fly home from Italy thru JFK to LAX and need to know if I can bring vacuum packed cheese, prosciutto and pancetta.
There are to many different answers out there and I'm confused!
rebroc is offline  
Old May 12th, 2009, 07:53 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 162
I was able to bring them in 2007.. they HAVE to be vacuum sealed.

The one thing you can not bring is seeds. We bought some flower seeds that were in a sealed packet, like the packets you would buy here at Lowe's, and got them taken away by customs.
monicainindy is offline  
Old May 12th, 2009, 07:54 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 48,556
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations...list/index.asp
StCirq is offline  
Old May 12th, 2009, 07:57 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 22,164
The vaccuum packed issue gets bandied about a lot, but is there really a regulation that permits any kind of meat from Italy, in any form?

I've always thought "yes" to (aged) cheese and "no" to any kind of meat. That does not mean that everyone complies with these regs, just that they exist.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Old May 12th, 2009, 08:01 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 267
I've brought back vacuum packed cheese but not meats. I think vaccum packed is OK, although I'm more certain of meat products in cans or jars, such as pates.

Wine is OK but only in checked luggage, and be prepared to pay duty on more than one bottle per person.

Total value of items brought in cannot exceed $800 per person of course.
drbb is offline  
Old May 12th, 2009, 08:03 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 22,164
I've brought home just about everything, but I would like to know if having the item vaccuum packed makes it any more legal. I cannot see why that would make a difference..
(??)
ekscrunchy is offline  
Old May 12th, 2009, 08:25 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 22,164
I did a bit of research. Vaccuum packing has nothing to do with the issue. No meats from Italy.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Old May 12th, 2009, 08:28 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 6,036
I brought back vacuum sealed meat and it promptly got confiscated at the airport by the super-cute beagle at customs in the US. My cheese made it just fine.

Tracy
tcreath is offline  
Old May 12th, 2009, 09:21 AM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 79
Not liking the answers but ok. Really wanted my prosciutto and pancetta. But wine in "checked" bags?????? Have you seen the way they handle the baggage? I've brought liquor back from Mexico and Peru and NEVER checked it. Always carried it on. Leaving Montepulciano in the am so decisions must be made by then about the meats. I can't see why dried pasta in the package would be a problem either?
rebroc is offline  
Old May 12th, 2009, 09:25 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 48,556
You can bring all the pasta you want. As for the wine, I rarely bring it back, but when I do I either get those packing carriers from the wine stores in Italy or I bubblewrap it and check it. Or both.

You'll almost surely have the meats confiscated. I'd eat them.
StCirq is offline  
Old May 12th, 2009, 09:35 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 267
Of course you cannot carry on wine anymore. We've brought back wines in checked bags since the liquid restrictions. Never a broken bottle. Bring a little bubble wrap and pad with dirty clothes. Last year, eight bottles in two suitcases.
drbb is offline  
Old May 12th, 2009, 09:35 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 33,453
Since you can't carry on liquids, you can't carry on wine unless they are less than 3 ounces and will fit in your little quart ziplock baggie. It must have been quite a few years since you went to Mexico and Peru.

I'm not sure you can bring meat from anywhere, not just Italy.
kybourbon is online now  
Old May 12th, 2009, 09:40 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,851
You can check wine safely. This is inexpensive and works well:
http://www.iwawine.com/orstore/ShowI...ctID=WB401-005

I have been using it twice a year for the past 4 years now (all European flights) It is padded, both the exteriors and each bottle compartment. I shrinkwrap it at the airport to get it even tighter and more secure (though my parents did not) and tag it with "FRAGILE - GLASS" tags. You can usually get them at a wine store that does shipping, though I just make my own with paper and a sharpie. You tape on the fragile tags after shrinkwrapping, obviously. I tape the tags at the airline counter and point it out to the person checking the bags at the airline counter. The wine fits pretty snug in there so it packs quite well. I will also sometimes wrap a piece of cardboard around the base to protect it further, but your call, I have been fine either way. 12 bottles = approx. 42 lbs, so you will come in under the allowance for weight.

I usually take more in my regular luggage as well and use wine skins for those. As far as declaring, you declare based on the value not the amount, even though there are limits to the amount you can bring back. I have never been asked how many bottles I have at customs, but would be happy to pay the additional tax if asked. Just something to keep in mind. I also do not tend to buy pricey bottles as I am buying wine to cellar (and drink now), you are paying extra for that bottle that has been aged for you.

Hope that helps, feel free to ask any other questions re: wine. (yes I did cut and paste my response here from another thread I answered before.)

As far as vacuum packing your cheese, it is not necessary, just prevents it from making all your stuff smell like cheese and costs additional. I usually wrap cheese I bring back in like 10 plastic bags and pack with non-clothing items. I find that the plastic bags from the duty free shops are heavier and less likely to cause the bag to smell like cheese.
cherrybomb is offline  
Old May 12th, 2009, 09:50 AM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 79
Mexico was in 2006. Guess they changed it after that?
apparently I'm going to have to buy a 2nd bag to check on the way home. BTW, the meats and cheeses are already vacuum packed.
rebroc is offline  
Old May 12th, 2009, 09:52 AM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 79
Thanks cherrybomb for the tip but I leave Italy on Saturday. no time for ordering. Guess I'll have to wing it.
rebroc is offline  
Old May 12th, 2009, 09:54 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 16,032
monicainindy - on the other hand, I brought back 8 packs of vegetable seeds, declared them and they were passed through. However, customs did take them to a back room, open them all and we were the last people out.
basingstoke2 is online now  
Old May 12th, 2009, 10:38 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 43
Just back ourselves- Brought home wine and lemoncello in the checked bags- one bottle wrapped in my knee brace, the others in the wine skin bags form Magellans; double bagged them in large ziplocks, then wrapped in dirty laundry- they were just fine; also brought several smaller bottles (3 oz) of lemoncello in our quart sized ziplocks- no problem there. We have fallen in love with Pecorino fresca,(not aged) and cannot find it here in the States, so we had that vacuum sealed the day before we left, hoping it would survive without refrigeration. (And the woman who sold it to me in the market at Campo di Fiore didn't charge extra to seal it.) It made it back fine, and we wish we had brought more. As for the meat, we brought some onto the plane for lunch, and the flight attendant suggested we finish it before we disembarked or risk a $500 fine for bringing meat into the country. As we went through customs in Philly, they were only concerned about seeds or dried plants, and we probably could have brought it in undetected, but with our luck, we would have ended up with a fine, so for us, best to just plan another trip back to Italy.
dcliptak is offline  
Old May 12th, 2009, 11:32 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 48,556
Vacuum-packed or not, the meat won't get through. The cheese will.

I bring tins of foie gras and pâté back from France all the time, so you can bring some meats in (tinned, commercially labeled) from some countries (not sure if you can bring tinned meats from Italy, though), but not vacuum-packed ones.
StCirq is offline  
Old May 12th, 2009, 12:20 PM
  #19  
yk
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,361
I just brought back foie gras (tinned) from Hungary. It was inspected but not confiscated.
yk is offline  
Old May 12th, 2009, 12:39 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 22,164
Probably because foie gras is not considered meat, but poultry. And it depends on the country of origin, too.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Barb
Europe
53
Apr 23rd, 2013 01:17 AM
pengwen
Europe
21
Oct 3rd, 2012 06:46 PM
sberliner
Europe
24
Sep 8th, 2007 08:02 AM
annimal
Europe
7
Sep 9th, 2006 02:15 PM
cdntraveller
Europe
18
Mar 31st, 2005 12:02 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO