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Old 02-05-2010, 06:54 AM   #1
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What is prohibited - going to US from Canada

I often camp in the US - I live close to the border and there are many fine campgrounds in upper State NY.

That being said, I have never been totally successful in finding a definitive list or link to a site that lists all the allowed and prohibited food/personal items entering into the US from Canada.

On the US Customs site, they have a section that talks about it in very general terms ie "some meat products may be seized, some are allowable, these regulations may be subject to change at a moment's notice due to outbreaks in the world, yada yada."

I did find a pdf that spells it out in a more specific fashion, but it's still nowhere near complete, and it was made almost a year ago - how accurate is it?

There's also this site which lists certain foods - Bringing Agricultural Products Into the United States - CBP.gov
But again, they talk about how some foods may or may not be allowed.

I know the USDA is responsible for determining what's allowed and what's not, and they (presumably) pass that information onto the Customs border officials.

What I'd like to know is - why don't they have a spreadsheet available on their website? USDA officials and border guards must have a master list of very specific information that's constantly updated - how difficult is it to post that online for travellers' information?

Or is there a particular reason why they are being somewhat vague about the restrictions?
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Old 02-05-2010, 07:08 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Macfrodge View Post
What I'd like to know is - why don't they have a spreadsheet available on their website? USDA officials and border guards must have a master list of very specific information that's constantly updated - how difficult is it to post that online for travellers' information?

Or is there a particular reason why they are being somewhat vague about the restrictions?
I can't answer your questions definatively, but I believe the US govenment if vague on porpose.....so they can do what they want, when the want.

I do know they will not let you bring in pork, or anything made from pork. Don't know why.
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Old 02-05-2010, 07:12 AM   #3
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I go in and out by air frequently. The big issues they look for at the airport are; fresh fruit, soft cheeses, and non packaged meat. If I bring in fresh flowers, they shake them to make sure there aren't any bugs hitching a ride.

I found a publication from US Agriculture published for the Olympics 25JAN10 on this site. U.S. Customs and Border Protection - Newsroom

I hope this helps.
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Old 02-05-2010, 07:16 AM   #4
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Just as long as they let you bring in Blue beer,the Labatts,what we get here tastes like skunk. Dave
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Old 02-05-2010, 07:35 AM   #5
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Just as long as they let you bring in Blue beer,the Labatts,what we get here tastes like skunk. Dave
Dave - I can bring you a 6 pack of Labatts Blue - I'll be in Sarasota in April.

But.. you can do a whole lot better than Labatts Blue - try some Alexander Keith's if you like ale. But the microbreweries are still the best.

As for the allowable/prohibited items - Steve mentioned no pork. This is a prime example of how the authorities are seemingly being deliberately vague. Pork is allowed from Canada, but not from Mexico. Beef is also allowed, but not lamb or goat, even in pet food.

Wee bit frustrating.
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Old 02-05-2010, 07:41 AM   #6
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The reason I thought Pork was a no-no is they took some dried sausage away from us coming back from Germany.
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Old 02-05-2010, 08:01 AM   #7
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Dirty under wear. US Customs hate dirty under wear .
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The reason I thought Pork was a no-no is they took some dried sausage away from us coming back from Germany.
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Old 02-05-2010, 08:04 AM   #8
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Dave - I can bring you a 6 pack of Labatts Blue - I'll be in Sarasota in April.

But.. you can do a whole lot better than Labatts Blue - try some Alexander Keith's if you like ale. But the microbreweries are still the best.

As for the allowable/prohibited items - Steve mentioned no pork. This is a prime example of how the authorities are seemingly being deliberately vague. Pork is allowed from Canada, but not from Mexico. Beef is also allowed, but not lamb or goat, even in pet food.

Wee bit frustrating.
I`ll be up there for the Tin Can Tourists rally @ the end of the month,can`t you get away a little sooner.Dave
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Old 02-05-2010, 08:18 AM   #9
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Good luck with that.

The problem is that the lists were developed with other kinds of travelers in mind, not RVs, and so the fact that we have to empty the fridge and throw away a bunch of stuff wasn't considered.

Small price to pay to be sure that U.S. agriculture is protected from diseases and insects from Canada and to be sure that marijuana and cocaine aren't openly sold on our city streets. Right.

Nothing but a bunch of extra hassle and expense for people who live near the border and have reason to cross it.
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Old 02-05-2010, 08:42 AM   #10
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Good luck with that.

The problem is that the lists were developed with other kinds of travelers in mind, not RVs, and so the fact that we have to empty the fridge and throw away a bunch of stuff wasn't considered.

Small price to pay to be sure that U.S. agriculture is protected from diseases and insects from Canada and to be sure that marijuana and cocaine aren't openly sold on our city streets. Right.

Nothing but a bunch of extra hassle and expense for people who live near the border and have reason to cross it.
I agree. While I certainly don't want to empty my fridge and throw the stuff out, I really want to avoid a hassle that we recently had the pleasure of experiencing. We were coming back from camping in Lake Placid, and hubby is in charge of packing the back of the truck. He wasn't thinking and packed the 5-6 pieces of firewood that we have leftover - big no-no. Well, we've got to cross the St. Lawrence to get back into Canada, and pay the toll - around $7? to get across the bridge. We do so, and arrive at Cdn. Customs, and get the usual questions. When they asked about firewood, I automatically started to shake my head no when hubby said 'shoot yes - I've got a few pieces'. We go through the usual information session. But instead of being asked to unload it, we were instructed to turn around, go back to the US and dump it.

So we turned around, paid another $7 to cross the bridge, go back through US Customs, drive a wee bit down the road, dump the wood, come back, pay the toll again, and again go through Cdn. Customs (with a smile and we were waved right through).

Expensive wood.

And Steve - there are different regulations w/r to food from different countries, depending on what's going on in each country, outbreaks of viruses, pests, that sort of thing.

Somebody's got that information - they're just not sharing. Didn't they learn anything in kindergarten?
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Old 02-05-2010, 09:25 AM   #11
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So we turned around, paid another $7 to cross the bridge, go back through US Customs, drive a wee bit down the road, dump the wood, come back, pay the toll again, and again go through Cdn. Customs (with a smile and we were waved right through).
Expensive wood.
Did you travel far enough back into the US to insure that the bugs in that wood could not make it back to Canada when the hatched?

Unlike Canada that has fairly defined regulations we tend to have knee jerk reactions and respond to today's idea. While none of these ideas last long it is had to determine which one may be in effect this week Just be glad you are driving in because they have not yet started to remove shoes or check your underwear yet.

Years ago a family was coming in with a pet goose. US customs stopped them and said they could not bring the goose in. They let the goose out of the car in Canada drove across the boarder and called the goose. It flew in and they went on.

I was entering Canada a few years back and as I pulled up to Canadian Customs the inspector looked in the window and said where are you going Mr. E. the last time you were here you were going to Abbotsford. That was before he say my ID. Turns out my car has a front plate and he punched that in before I stopped at the window.
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Old 02-05-2010, 10:14 AM   #12
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I got this at the border from Customs officer in New York/.Customs & Border Protection,Agriculture,Officer Buckley, Officer Ryan Officer Parker,802-873-9578 ,or 802 -8733219 call and they will tell you what you can bring into the USA.
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I agree. While I certainly don't want to empty my fridge and throw the stuff out, I really want to avoid a hassle that we recently had the pleasure of experiencing. We were coming back from camping in Lake Placid, and hubby is in charge of packing the back of the truck. He wasn't thinking and packed the 5-6 pieces of firewood that we have leftover - big no-no. Well, we've got to cross the St. Lawrence to get back into Canada, and pay the toll - around $7? to get across the bridge. We do so, and arrive at Cdn. Customs, and get the usual questions. When they asked about firewood, I automatically started to shake my head no when hubby said 'shoot yes - I've got a few pieces'. We go through the usual information session. But instead of being asked to unload it, we were instructed to turn around, go back to the US and dump it.

So we turned around, paid another $7 to cross the bridge, go back through US Customs, drive a wee bit down the road, dump the wood, come back, pay the toll again, and again go through Cdn. Customs (with a smile and we were waved right through).

Expensive wood.

And Steve - there are different regulations w/r to food from different countries, depending on what's going on in each country, outbreaks of viruses, pests, that sort of thing.

Somebody's got that information - they're just not sharing. Didn't they learn anything in kindergarten?
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Old 02-05-2010, 10:25 AM   #13
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Not detailed, but a starting place: Prohibited and Restricted Items - CBP.gov
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Old 02-05-2010, 01:48 PM   #14
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Not detailed, but a starting place: Prohibited and Restricted Items - CBP.gov
Wow, first thing on the list is absinthe! Don't they know that absinthe makes the heart grow fonder!?

Actually, this whole thread reminds me of a comedy routine that Jacky Mason does. He does one of his "matter of fact" type intors to the joke, with a "did you know" that people with AIDS may now legally enter the USA? No, really, it's true.

But if you want to bring in fruit, no, you can't do that. Maybe you could give it to a person that has AIDS and get it in, I dunno.

Shrugs and on to the next joke.
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