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Dec 13, 2012 02:11 PM

Report on bringing cheese back with Global Entry [moved to Cheese category]

I know this has been talked about before, but here is a report less than 2 hours old from Seattle Int'l Airport.

In the past, as advised by USDA in Chicago, I had checked "No" where it asks if you are bringing food. The USDA supervisor said that was the correct response where what I was bringing in is clearly permitted. That is, chocolate, cheese, and jam.

Nonetheless, a few commenters here got me to try checking "Yes" today. This resulted in a Global Entry ticket with a big X and "Check with passport control." I hoped this did not mean go to the back of the very long, regular Customs line. It did not.

Ten feet from the kiosks were the Customs agents for crew members. I just went up to one of them. She called USDA on speakerphone and asked me to state what I was bringing in from France. I replied: "Chocolate, cheese, jam, and cookies." She asked about meats and I said: "No, I know what products are restricted and have none of them." She said fine, stamped my Global Entry ticket, and I was on my way. I picked up my bags and went out the Global Entry exit from the baggage area.

There were no USDA people in sight, so I did not get to ask which was the correct way to do it. Nor can I see if all other airports are as easy with a food declaration as Seattle.

Incidentally, I brought back a Mont d'Or, a reblochon, a Camembert, a Petit Fiancé des Pyranées, and another semi-soft chêvre recommended by the people at Alléosse. All raw milk cheeses not available here. My favorite chêvre to bring back, the Cabri Ariègois, has not been available since early November.

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  1. "here is a report less than 2 hours old from Seattle Int'l Airport."
    Seattle is in a kinder, nicer world along with Portland and Vancouver than Dulles, where with Global Entry, which I love BTW, if you have cheese etc,
    1. they divert you to a "Group W bench" (cf Arlo Guthrie) where you are a suspected felon or
    2. if you go to the "short line" 20 feet away you are told to "wait in line" and not cause trouble by the uniformed 25-year-old whose parents we got out of Viet Nam before the "troubles."

    1 Reply
    1. re: John Talbott

      We are not Global Entry, but we'd add SFO to the friendly list -- they just smile when we list and say cheese. -- Jake

    2. brought back several raw milk cheeses and Bordier butter from Dubois late last month -- all correctly vacuum packed -- in my rollabord. I stated on the form I had food. Nobody blinked all the way through the customs process at Newark. Have never had a problem there or JFK.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ChefJune

        I don't think they care about vacuum packing or not, though I think it makes sense for smelly cheeses. I had some of my cheese vacuum packed. The camembert was just in a Ziplock. And finally I had a piece of leftover reblochon wrapped in saran wrap in my carry on, brought as a snack but not finished before arrival.

      2. Came back a week ago and to test system in Philadelphia declared cheese number one item on list, $ 225 value. Was not Global and did not check 'food' as had been previously instructed not to check it.
        No issues at all, zoomed through.