At U.S. Customs: Agricultural Products
Certain items brought into the United States from foreign countries are restricted according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations. Prohibited agricultural items can harbor foreign animal and plant pests and diseases that could seriously damage America’s crops, livestock, pets, and the environment – and a large sector of our country’s economy.
All travelers entering the United States are required to DECLARE any meats, fruits, vegetables, plants, seeds, animals, and plant and animal products (including soup or soup products) they may be carrying. The declaration must cover all items carried in checked baggage, carry-on luggage, or in a vehicle.
Upon examination of plants, animal products, and associated items, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists at the ports of entry will determine if these items meet the entry requirements of the United States.
Even though an item may be listed as "permitted" from a particular country, it is always best to DECLARE the item by checking "Yes" on Question 11 of the CBP Declaration Form 6059B.
Also declare if you have been on a farm or in close proximity of livestock, as an agriculture specialist may need to check your shoes or luggage for traces of soil that could harbor foreign animal diseases such as foot-and-mouth.
Avoid Fines and Delays
Prohibited items that are not declared by passengers are confiscated and disposed of by CBP agriculture specialists.
Civil penalties may be assessed for violations and may range up to $1,000 for a first-time offense. Depending on whether the confiscated, undeclared items are intentionally concealed, or determined to be for commercial use, civil penalties may be assessed as high as $50,000 for individuals.
The same fines apply to prohibited agricultural products sent through the international mail.
When planning your trip, keep in mind that regulations change frequently around the world, depending on outbreaks of plant and animal diseases. So, whether or not the item in question seems to be one that is permitted, travelers are still responsible for declaring those items and presenting them for inspection upon returning to the United States.
DECLARE all agriculture-related products when entering the United States.
Further reading in general is recommended when planning on bringing any such goods to the United States. Also when you intend to officially import goods like
- Fruits, Vegetables, and Plants
- Meat and Animal Products and Byproducts
- Animal hunting trophies, game animal carcasses, and hides.
- Live Animals and Birds
- Other Biological Materials like organisms, cells and cultures, antibodies, vaccines and related substances, whether of plant or animal origin.
Soil, Sand, Minerals, and Shells
Pure sand, such as a small container of decorative beach sand, is usually allowed.
Please regard the WebLink to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection on this page, right column. The sites offers information regarding all the involved issues and provides further WebLinks to other departments!
General List of Approved Products
Aloe Vera (above ground parts)
Bat nut or devil pod (Trapa bicornis)
Breads, cakes, cookies, and other bakery goods
Chinese water chestnut
Coffee (roasted beans only)
* Flower bulbs
Garlic cloves (peeled)
Lily bulbs (Lilium spp.) for planting
Nuts (roasted only)
Palm hearts (peeled)
Sauces, canned or processed
* Seeds for planting or consumption
Shamrocks leaves without roots or soil
St. John's Bread
Singhara nut (Trapa bispinosa)
Tamarind bean pod
Vegetables, canned or processed
Water chestnut (Trapa natans)
*Check with the consulate or agricultural office in the country of origin to
confirm that your item is allowed. A phytosanitary certificate is required for
propagative material. Pre-departure inspection is required for passengers
traveling from Hawaii to the mainland, Puerto Rico to the mainland, and from the
U.S. Virgin Islands to the mainland.
Many products grown in Canada or Mexico are allowed to enter the United States.
This includes most vegetables and many fruits; however, seed potatoes from
Canada currently require a permit. Additionally, stone fruit, apples, mangoes,
oranges, guavas, sopote, cherimoya and sweet limes from Mexico require a permit.