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Dec 2, 2011 02:14 PM

Bringing Foie Gras Through Customs [split from SF Bay]

No way !
We just brought foie gras from Paris, where we live, to SF for thanxgiving with our family. We even declared two big jars at customs. Jars even, not cans. Were waved through with a hearty "Happy thanxgiving!" (But a security agent unzipped my pants for the body search. Is that normal?)

No wonder friends and family were swooning. I should have auctioned the two jars, both from Dordogne farms, not regular store brands. :-)

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  1. Wow. You were really lucky. Meat products are usually confiscated at customs.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      If they're fully cooked, cans or jars, no problem. It's the raw or half-cooked foie that gets confiscated.

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Depends on who you get as at the gate; I have had JARS that are fully cooked confiscated because of the glass factor, not the contents or size.

        1. re: CarrieWas218

          What's the glass factor? You mean as carry-on rather than checked baggage?

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Mine were in a glass jar.
            It was not the first time we brought foie gras into the US declared. My pathologically honest DH declared a couple of jars last time he went to Chicago, also for t thanxgiving. The jars were inspected by 3, 4 agents, then let through.
            I think Melanie is right. It is mi-cuit that is no dice. Any way, mi-cuit could never have survived such a long flight with no refrigeration.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              That the glass could be broken and a shard could be used as a weapon...

              1. re: CarrieWas218

                Thanks, that's something to keep in mind. To be sure to pack jsrs of foie in checked baggage snuggled up with bottles of wine.

                My sympathies. I would have been devastated in that situation. I'm still not over having my collection of Hungarian salami confiscated. The customs officers at LAX had a great lunch that day.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  Although - I *have* successfully smuggled back 7 POUNDS of illicit British cheeses and freshly smoked haddock...

                2. re: CarrieWas218

                  My glass jar, declared was in the checked luggage, with the 1982 Ch√Ęteau Margaux.
                  Really, my advice is not to smuggle anything, except maybe hard drugs :-).
                  Declare everything and you are let through, at least in my experience (not including the hard drug part; that was a joke, duh).

              2. re: CarrieWas218

                I do think it really depends on who your agent is given the varying experiences in this thread and my own. We had all of our vacuum packed iberico ham confiscated and it was in line with the rules, which we were shown when we challenged them. I had read the chowhound boards before going overseas and was convinced it would be fine but sadly there is a lot of misinformation out there. Unless your meat is in a can (I really don't recall seeing "jar" on the list although it would be worth revisiting the regulations to be sure) or you have a certificate stating that it can be imported it can be confiscated (esp if from Europe). Icelandic meat is no problem however. That said, I had a friend hand carry foie neither in jar or can back to me no problem. So I guess that's why everyone tries. . .

            2. re: Ruth Lafler

              I've never had a problem bringing cooked foie gras through US Customs. Certain sausages, on the other hand, even cooked ones, were confiscated for fear of mad cow disease (though that was a few years ago at the height of that particular panic - don't know if I'd have the same problem today).

            3. Here's the relevant link from Mangeur:

              Pork isn't ever allowed, in any form.

              1 Reply
              1. re: sunshine842

                Pork is allowed in passenger baggage for personal use in certain forms.

                From US Customs as of 12/01/11,
                "Pork should be commercially canned and labeled in unopened containers. Pork and pork products are not admissible from Mexico, except for cooked pork in small amounts for a meal.

                Effective January 14, 2010, cooked pork skins (also known as pork rind) entering as commercial cargo or in passenger baggage from regions affected with foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), swine vesicular disease (SVD), African swine fever (ASF), or classical swine fever (CSF) must be accompanied by an original certificate issued by an official of the National Government of the region of origin."

                Or dated 10/11/11,
                "The short and sweet answer for many popular products (from countries other than those mentioned on the APHIS site) is as follows:

                Cured Bacon - Unless it is from Canada or two specifically approved (see link) producers allowed to sell certified pork products in duty free shops in Dublin and Shannon Airports , no.
                Sausage - No
                Salami and other cured deli products - No
                Prosciutto - No
                Pate - If cooked and in a hermetically sealed container, maybe. Otherwise - no.
                Fois Gras - If cooked and in a hermetically sealed container, maybe. Otherwise, no.
                Parma, Iberian or Serrano hams - Call (301)734- 7633 or (301) 734-3277. Only certain plants are certified exporters, and the hams must be accompanied by certificates and seals.
                Bouillon Cubes and Dry Soup Mixes - Beef or other ruminant-based (goat, sheep, etc.) bouillon products are not admissible if from a BSE (Mad Cow) country - (Basically, none from Europe or European territories such as Martinique or British Virgin Islands). No poultry-based bouillon from Asia, which has Highly Pathogenic Avian influenza."