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Oct 10, 2008 10:01 AM

Bringing back Foie Gras, legally?

Has anyone recently brought back foie gras from France and declared it to US customs? I'm in Paris and bought a can of foie gras de oie which I'd like to bring home. I want to declare it because with my luck, I'd be caught and fined (and it's a BIG fine). Plus, even if it's legal, and I don't declare it, they will confiscate it because I will have lied on the form.

The US Customs website is a little unclear on what it will and will not allow. It says,
"Fois Gras - If cooked and in a hermetically sealed container, maybe- see Matrix. Otherwise, no." I really can't tell what the 'matrix" is, as the link is to a page with a bunch of other links (

I'll be going through customs in DC, though that probably does not matter.

I have a day left here and I really wanted to bring the can home to hubby rather than make myself sick eating it here!

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  1. I have brought some back through Canadian Customs without any problem, so I expect that U.S. Customs would be the same. Just make sure it does not say "mi-cuit" (partially cooked) on the can, though I do think that partially cooked foie gras is only sold in jars, not cans.

    BTW foie gras from France in cans is widely available in Canada, so I expect that the same would be true in the U.S. The quality is the same as when you buy it in France.

    1 Reply
    1. re: souschef

      <The quality is the same as when you buy it in France.>

      Not exactly. at least I have never found Dubernet Foie Gras available in US, and imho it is much superior to the brands I can buy here.

    2. I bring the canned stuff home with me every time, and have never had a problem. It's the fresh they won't let you bring in.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ChefJune

        Is it the can or the jar or the degree of cooking that matters. l always bring in micuit in jars, is the a 'no' and l have been lucky?

      2. Thanks for the replies. The can does not say if it is cooked or not, but it does NOT say "mi-cuit". Also, (and unfortunately) I just noticed it's not goose foie, but rather, duck. I picked up the wrong can! Oh well, I'm sure it will be good and if it gets confiscated, I guess I'll get over it.

        2 Replies
        1. re: wired2theworld

          Generally the preservation method for canned meat (and many other foods) is to heat them to steralise (or pasteurise) them during the canning process. Obviously fruits or vegetables are canned in sugar syrup or brine to preserve them but foie gras is heat treated to make it safe. I believe the same is true for foie gras that is preserved in glass jars.

          Therefore because they are heat treated to eliminate the bugs they are OK to be imported . The same is obviously not true for fresh foie or the chilled plastic packs you can buy (IMO a far better product).

          1. re: wired2theworld

            I used to bring tons of the home-canned stuff home from family in the midi-pyrenees without problem. Not even sure if there were labels, come to think of it. You should be fine.

          2. Follow up:
            The TSA in Paris confiscated my can of Foie Gras before I could even get it back to the US!
            They could not exactly tell me "why".
            First, it had something to do with it being in a "can" and "cans" are not allowed. Really?? Because they are supposedly "dangerous" because they can be opened and the metal is sharp. My question; how can the can be opened (with what??) if they are doing their jobs?
            Then it was a "liquid" (no, it's not).
            Lastly, it was because it was 200 grams, with 100 grams being the max allowed for liquids. (Still, it's not a liquid).
            Into the bin it went.
            I had carry-on luggage only and it would have been too late at that point to check a bag anyway.
            They guy at US passport control said I probably would not have been able to bring it in, but he was not a customs agent, so who knows?

            2 Replies
            1. re: wired2theworld

              You didn't mention in the original post that you planned to bring it as carry on !?

              Of course they will confiscate before you made it to the plane, same with wine bottles, or any such stuff.

              100% guaranteed free entry to the US though, as long as it's in the check-in baggage.

              If you are patient enough, search for old posts in these boards signed "The Man", officer with US Customs, explained pretty much anything that is to be explained. ( Just use google, not the boards'own useless search utility ).

              1. re: RicRios

                Yeah, my fault. it never even occured to me about the carry on part of it. Probably because I did not think of it as a "liquid".
                I did read those threads before I even made my original post, but I still wasn't sure. it was those threads which made me worry about not declaring it.
                Even the US gov't website still says "maybe", so I don't think anything is 100% if you declare it.
                Sigh. Hubbie was disappointed.

            2. I bring it through frequently from Paris and have never had a problem. If in doubt buy it from duty-free at the airport, they rarely question anything in a duty-free bag. The only things I've ever lost were some sausages I was bringing in from Germany at the height of the mad cow scare.