What can I safely bring back?

Old Oct 11th, 2002, 12:52 PM
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What can I safely bring back?

I was wondering if you can bring home things such as cheese and other food products. Also does anyone know if I can bring home flower bulbs from Amsterdam? I'm in the US. Thanks.
Old Oct 11th, 2002, 12:59 PM
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It depends and sometimes the rules are kinda screwy. Be honest with them when you fill out the form. Last feb I brought back a sheeps skin from Poland, it is beautiful and still smells like milk. However the processed, cooked and shrinked wrapped sausage they took and threw right out because of anthrax or mad cows disease even though it was a pork product....
Old Oct 11th, 2002, 01:01 PM
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The US Customs site on the net has a list of the items that can be brought back. M.
Old Oct 11th, 2002, 07:06 PM
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I looked at the US Customs site for info on what kind of cheese we could bring back, and it didn't help. My suggestion is that meats are out. Hard cheeses are ok, we reported and brought through Scots Cheddar and Gouda... our friend reported English blue cheese and it was confiscated. Hard cheeses are where it's at!
Old Oct 12th, 2002, 06:27 AM
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We brought back all sorts of cheese from France with no problem. Also tinned foie gras--no sausage or meat products.
Old Oct 12th, 2002, 01:07 PM
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Check http://www.usembassy.org.uk/ukcust1.html#prohibit
Old Oct 12th, 2002, 04:39 PM
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Excerpted from a previous posting on this thread (and there are other good posts there also):


Author: Rex ([email protected])
Date: 03/01/2002, 11:32 pm
Message: Foodstuffs are generally the domain of the Dept of Agriculture not customs. There are USDA agents at airport arrival areas.

I can tell you that I have had a USDA agent root through a lunch bag, quite ignoring cheese, both wrapped and unwrapped, a half-eaten sandwich, etc - - and confiscate from me an apple that was given to me by the airline as part of a snack. They also went on to not even take a glance at my suitcase (duffel bag), which contained 14 bottles of wine.

I think you can bring home all the wine, cheese, ham and olive oil you can carry.

My story is an anecdote of one. Take it with a grain of salt.

Best wishes,

Old Oct 12th, 2002, 09:40 PM
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the key to the cheese thing is that it not be raw milk cheese...must be pasterized....canned meat is ok...fruit and plants are the biggest no-no...
Old Oct 14th, 2002, 03:32 AM
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This is from just personal experience I have never checked the customs site. As a rule Pasturised cheese is ok and meats unless tinned tend to be a No.

For many years I have been bringing Sausages and bacon & butter back from Ireland for my parents. I wrapped them carefully in plastic wrap and then into containers. I was never checked but they would have taken them off me if they found them. I only bring what my family will eat and never any more and do not give to other people. Now Dublin airport sells sausages & bacon to take with you and it is accepted by customs as OK.

Fruit is tricky and I would not bother trying. If you really want something specific see if they sell at the airports then you will have no problem!
Old Oct 15th, 2002, 09:07 AM
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Here are two USDA fact sheets about what agricultural products you can and cannot bring into the US (and why):



On bulbs from Amsterdam -- when we were there last year, we found that shops had stickers they put on the packages of bulbs as we bought them to indicate that they were okay to bring into the US (I assume they are from companies that have been inspected by USDA and certified as okay). So be sure you ask whether the bulbs you are buying can be taken into the US and be sure they put that sticker on each package you buy. At the airport when we landed, the USDA inspector looked for the stickers.
Old Oct 15th, 2002, 02:42 PM
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A few years ago we came across a bulb sale in Amsterdam. The bulbs were certified and came with their certificate and we had no problems bringing them in. This year we were inspected by the Agriculture Department: The cheeses, included raw mild cheeses were acceptable. Foie gras is acceptable as long as the can is labeled and contains NO pork products. Paté usually contains prok products and therefore is unacceptable. This was in Chicago. Other ports of entry may have less knowledgeable officials. I say this because Chicago security was willing to hand-check my film, but S.F. refused me that right.
Old Oct 15th, 2002, 09:59 PM
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<<raw milk cheese...must be pasterized>>

I think that this actually applies only to cheese for resale. They don't try to determine it for cheese you bring in for personal use.
Old Oct 17th, 2002, 06:15 PM
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I don't mean to be a spoilsport, but do yourself a favor and do not bring back foodstuff. I know it's more romantic and ethnic to purchase cheese and meats from the country of origin, but because of e-coli,salmonella and other organisms, more of these products are being confiscated, even when they are on the approved list. Security is tighter than ever and these items can be purchased here in States- where they've passed the strict import regulations. I deal with and monitor FDA and USDA every day for our firm and you'll drive yourself crazy trying to figure out what's allowable or not.
Old Oct 19th, 2002, 09:38 AM
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You shouldn't have any problem with cheese if it is a whole round (there are different sizes) with plastic casing intact. Don't try any meat products that are not in a can or jar. Bulbs from Amsterdam should be OK if you get a US health certificate (most bulb sellers have them available), but it may depend on the regulations & their interpretation at the time you travel. I bring or send bulbs (successfully) to the US every year and I always think it's worth trying, it makes such a nice gift or souvenir!
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