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Beebs

Smuggling Goodies

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'Fess up - we've all done it! Packing contraband goodies into your suitcase, hoping that customs officials don't sniff 'em out!

Check out this article in the Globe & Mail - "Is that a sausage in your suitcase?"

According to this article, there is actually a wide range of foodstuffs that you can legitimately bring into Canada, for personal consumption. Items like mustards, sauces, candies are all OK. Turns out you can even bring in cheese - pasteurized or unpasteurized - as long as it's under $20 in value, or 20 lbs by weight (yaaay!). Meats, of course, are prohibited.

So..what clandestine edibles have you all "smuggled" across the border? Have you ever been caught? Tell all! :biggrin:

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Great topic.

I suppose over a lifetime of dining and hunting up foodstuffs, I've brought almot everything you can think of in my baggege. My one limit is bringing anything that might prove dangerous (e.g. plants or vegetables that might contain viruses or insects that could harm the ecology).

Best story was during the period when it was illegal to import cheese into Israel. Came back with about 8 kilos of Parmigiano Reggiano and was stopped at the customs desk. Was told that cheese couldn't be brought in. I looked at the inspector with astonishment and told him it wasn't a cheese, it was a spice.

He in turn looked at me with skepticism, I scraped off a bit (it was still legal then to carry corkscrews onto airplanes), gave it to him to taste and he agreed immediately that it wasn't cheese but indeed a spice.

Power, as it is said, to some of the people.

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Guess I'm just chicken but I have never brought anything banned yet.

I really wanted to bring some Italian cheeses home but was afraid they would be confiscated.

One woman in our group said she was hiding some in her candy. Wonder if she got home with it.

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I vacuum pack biltong and wash the outside with soap and water, then wrap in various things.

My funniest experience was watching my dad being sniffed out by an adorable dog while security looked on, then seeing his face fall when they discovered a giant, lovingly baked English fruitcake my grandmother had made for him. It'd been wrapped in lots of layers and sandwiched between clothing. They dumped it directly in the garbage!

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I vacuum pack biltong and wash the outside with soap and water, then wrap in various things.

My funniest experience was watching my dad being sniffed out by an adorable dog while security looked on, then seeing his face fall when they discovered a giant, lovingly baked English fruitcake my grandmother had made for him. It'd been wrapped in lots of layers and sandwiched between clothing. They dumped it directly in the garbage!

I wonder why the fruitcake was dumped. Baked goods are usually okay.


SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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Chinese sausage and bacon. I brought some into Japan after my trip to HK in March. I never ever get checked anywhere in the world (I guess I look too innocuous), so I was home-free!

My mother, however, actually admitted to the customs officer (they weren't searching her, but were just asking the standard questions) that she had some Chinese sausage in her carry-on bag, causing it to be confiscated! :angry: Luckily she had another package in her check-in luggage that she didn't mention. :biggrin:

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Where shall I start - rose garlic from the south of France, fromage blanc, any number of cheeses. Plants, seeds...

Last trip across the border a couple of weeks ago heading into the states, the officer went into my trunk, tore open a package of chocolates that I was mailing in the states. Ignored the unlabeled containers of pectin, and various powdered candy making ingredients. Didn't make it to the back seat and find the icewine either. Looked a little sheepish when he said "you're going to have to fix that package before you mail it".

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We brought back wonderfully aged parmesan from Italy when we went. Just quietly didn't say anything. My friend wanted me to bring back some of that wonderful pork they have there, but I just couldn't bring myself to go quite that far - since the only ones we saw were full sides hanging in the market. I would have needed another suitcase.


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Has anyone ever had a cheese shop vacuum seal a cheese for travel? I would have liked to smuggle back some Camembert from France recently, but US Customs says soft, runny cheeses are not okay (hard cheeses are fine). I saw a cheese shop that said they vacuum sealed but real Camembert is SO stinky (I had a piece in a minifridge in my hotel room, and we smelled it as soon as we got off the elevator in the hall!) that I couldn't imagine that it would really contain the smell.

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I've always wondered what customs officials do with all that food they confiscate. Do they toss it? I know it's a risk to bring stuff in, but it makes me sad to think all that good food just gets binned.

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Has anyone ever had a cheese shop vacuum seal a cheese for travel? I would have liked to smuggle back some Camembert from France recently, but US Customs says soft, runny cheeses are not okay (hard cheeses are fine). I saw a cheese shop that said they vacuum sealed but real Camembert is SO stinky (I had a piece in a minifridge in my hotel room, and we smelled it as soon as we got off the elevator in the hall!) that I couldn't imagine that it would really contain the smell.

There is a triple cheese that I can get here that's really stinky. If I leave it in the fridge in its original wrapper, I can't even open the fridge before the smell hits. We have vacumn sealed this cheese very successfully and found no odor. I do suggest you try sealing some of your stinkier cheeses at home first to see how it works for you before venturing into the smuggling realm though. :biggrin:


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Has anyone ever had a cheese shop vacuum seal a cheese for travel? I would have liked to smuggle back some Camembert from France recently, but US Customs says soft, runny cheeses are not okay (hard cheeses are fine). I saw a cheese shop that said they vacuum sealed but real Camembert is SO stinky (I had a piece in a minifridge in my hotel room, and we smelled it as soon as we got off the elevator in the hall!) that I couldn't imagine that it would really contain the smell.

I wrapped in parchment and double vacuum sealed a really smelly cheese that I took down to Silver City, NM. You couldn't smell it until it came out of the wrap - but I'm betting a beagle could!

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I've always wondered what customs officials do with all that food they confiscate.  Do they toss it?  I know it's a risk to bring stuff in, but it makes me sad to think all that good food just gets binned.

Toss and burn.

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I've always wondered what customs officials do with all that food they confiscate.  Do they toss it?  I know it's a risk to bring stuff in, but it makes me sad to think all that good food just gets binned.

I'm betting they took home the vanilla beans that John DePaula was sending me - they had to have smelled amazing. Hope they made good use of them.

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I cross the border 3-4x a month and knock wood, I've never been searched. They're pretty lax coming back into Canada, but they always ask me what I have when I cross into the US.

I brought back 3 bags of mini potatoes last week when I knew full well they arent allowed. I brought back a marjoram plant too that isnt allowed ( its the soil).

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Scout's honor, I did not even know it was forbidden to bring some cheeses or meats into the USA, but have never missed the opportunity to bring back fine samples for friends and family. I've always declared the excess wine I bring in (usually 4 - 6 bottles more than the limit) but have never been charged a cent for those. And never been stopped at American customs..... I suppose I live right.

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Heck, these days it's not even just the international smuggling that gets confiscated.

Flying out from Minneapolis to visit my brother in Montana, my mom had an unopened and plastic wrap sealed jar of cranberry chutney (commercial, not homemade) confiscated from her carry on. Too liquid.

Last March I was astounded out in Vegas to watch one poor gal who was trying to carry on some goodies from the Jean-Philippe Patisserie at Bellagio. They confiscated tortes, cake slices, mousses, etc. Again quoting the "liquid/gel" rules but I think they went a bit too far that time.

I sure hope those didn't get burned!!


"Vegetables aren't food. Vegetables are what food eats."

--

food.craft.life.

The Lunch Crunch - Our daily struggle to avoid boring lunches

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I have but two border-crossings and a trip to England as trunk-stickers.

But we left the states with a five-pound bag of small Gala apples, munched them on the plane, had one or two on the tour bus, and when we returned, the Dallas airport confiscated the lone last apple in the carry-bag. Poor thing had come from Albertson's in the first place, and just wanted to go home.

They DID, however, ask if we'd gone near sheep or cattle in England, and since we had toured a working sheep farm, they sent our shoes through the sheep-dip vat. Too bad they didn't bother to ascertain if those were the shoes we'd actually been wearing at the time.

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Since my ditsy bro is one of the security guys, nothing surprises me that gets confiscated no matter how good. He would probably think the vanilla beans were some kind of drug. (Maybe they are.) :biggrin:

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2004, a few vacuum-sealed packages of jamon serrano. I couldn't leave Spain without it! When I was talking to the man at the counter, I mentioned what I was doing, and he smartly excluded the aluminum sheet that was usually placed in it.

When I got to customs, a dog came up and sniffed my bags...and I know I turned white. Luckily, the seal was tight, or the dog wasn't trained to find ham.

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If Ted Fairhead sees this thread, he'll probably have more to contribute, but I remember his mum bringing English bacon and one time a Christmas pudding.

Of course I'm reading it(lol). My Mum used to wrap a couple of pounds of English bacon in Christmas wrapping so she could always say it was a gift if she were asked about it. The Christmas puddings, like the fruit cake mentioned upthread, contained suet, so officially, they were illegal. Dear old Mum, she looked like an Irish pixie so she was never stopped anyway.

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Has anyone ever had a cheese shop vacuum seal a cheese for travel? I would have liked to smuggle back some Camembert from France recently, but US Customs says soft, runny cheeses are not okay (hard cheeses are fine).

My sister brought cheese back from Holland. Customs didn't get it but the airlines lost her bag. By the time she got it back, it smelled so bad she didn't even bring it in the house to see what might be salvaged. It all just got tossed. It might be ok in the winter...

We used to ship race horses back and forth across the Channel. Customs officials don't like to rummage around under the legs of skittery horses. Since those were our young and stupid days it was more about wine and fags than it was food, but we did bring home many many yummy stinky sausages and cheeses, too. I used to really, really like shipping horses out of Amsterdam. :cool:

Living in the US in these present circumstances, I wouldn't attempt to smuggle in a thing. Not a thing.


“Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!”

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I think my Dad smuggled some peaches from Korea when he last visited me. Hmm, let me think, what have I "smuggled" in my trips all around from Asia. I guess homemade leche flan that my mom made for my hubby. A huge bag of pan de sal bread (also for hubby). Some salted duck eggs for me although I am not sure is they are illegal in the first place. Oh, I almost forgot, I smuggled rose hips/seeds and plant cuttings for my mom to grow in her garden in Manila. :)


Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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