Border officials globally and in the United States are taxing travelers who bring food from overseas. There will be a very costly fine for these violations.

In one instance a passenger traveling from Indonesia to Australia’s Darwin Airport was fined $1874 after officials found two beef sausage McMuffins and a ham croissant in their luggage. Australia’s reason for the hefty fine was a foot and mouth disease outbreak in Indonesian livestock a month ago.

A few days before that offense an Australian woman was fined $1844, for not declaring a piece of her Subway sandwich she packed from Singapore.

US Border officials in the past year have fined passengers for bringing in a variety of undeclared foods in their suitcases, eggs, bologna, and turkey ham. Out of 630 inspections in 2021, 150 were found with food items according to the US Customs and Border Protection. Thousands of penalties were issued to travelers who did not declare prohibited foods.

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Customs officials found balut eggs in a passenger’s luggage on March 6. Balut eggs are duck embryos. The eggs are prepared by boiling them and eating it right off the shell.

Failure to declare food products at US air, sea and land border entry points can lead to fines and penalties of up to $10,000, according to the CBP. 

Fines and penalties can go up to $10,000 for undeclared food products at US border entry points.

Here’s what you need to know before bringing food products into the US.

Why are some foods not allowed?

Travelers bringing food products in the US from other countries risk the chance of bringing in foreign pests and diseases. This can affect our environment and agriculture. An outbreak of any sort can do more than just affect farmers. It would mean higher grocery bills and food shortages.

In 2021 customs officials found 264 pests at US ports, slightly higher than the previous year. 

“We work closely with the US Department of Agriculture, Animal and Health Inspection Services to prevent the introduction of plant pests and foreign animal diseases,” a CBP spokesperson told CNN.

What food products are not allowed into the country?

  1. Meat
  2. Poultry
  3. Milk
  4. Egg Products

The Department of Agriculture enforces that no animal or bird products from countries with recent history of livestock diseases can be allowed in the country.