Foie Gras & U.S./French customs
alright so im gettin ready to go to france over the summer and i really wanna bring back foie gras so my friends can try it. do you guys think i will have any problems with the us/french customs?
If you buy it in tins, you should not have a problem, as far as I know. I've brought them in in the past.
Look at the US customs website--I'm 99% sure it is officially prohibited these days, even in tins. Now, whether or not they'll actually check your bags is another story--that's your risk to take.
I've never had a problem with anything tinned or jarred/boxed and "factory" sealed (like boxes of tea with the cello intact. In fact, I usually carry a couple of plastic shoe boxes and bubble wrap so anything glass or crushable can be packed safely in my checked luggage for transport. That's where my food stuff purchases get transported, I don't do them carry on. Liberty, the sniffer dog at the Philly airport tried to bust me once by sitting by my soft-sided carry cooler but it only contained books. The day before in Ireland it was filled with deli meats, cheese and fruits so she was half right! But it always pays to check the TSA list before you go, things change quickly on it.
There are two kinds of foie gras: fresh and canned/tinned. Completely forget about bringing in the fresh type. I don't think fresh qualifies. Beyond that, the logistics alone in trying to keep it fresh don't seem do-able given the prohibitions on the necessary quantity of gel ice.
Since tinned foie gras is widely available in the US, I assume at least some French producers have taken the steps to become certified by the appropriate US government agency. I see gourmet food stores in the retail area of major airports all the time. You might want to check those stores to see if the foie gras carries some kind of certifying stamp for US importation. Not a food example, but I know that you can purchase flower bulbs in Holland that have been certified approved for US importation. They're so marked on the packaging.
Finally, here's a link to a rather long thread that was about bringing meat back from Italy. At some point in the thread, a US Customs agent began to field questions. Fascinating information: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/349543
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