Read this tip to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Prohibited and Restricted Items at Customs and other Travel Insurance topics.
Bringing home fruits and vegetables can be quite troublesome. That apple you bought in the foreign airport just before boarding and then didn't eat? Whether Customs will allow it into the United States depends on where you got it and where you're going after you arrive in the United States. The same is true for those magnificent Mediterranean tomatoes. Fresh fruits and vegetables can carry plant pests or diseases into the United States. You may remember the Med fly hysteria of the late 1980s: Stories about crop damage caused by the Mediterranean fruit fly were in the papers for months. The state of California and the federal government together spent some $100 million to get rid of this pest. And the source of the outbreak? One traveler who brought home one contaminated piece of fruit. It's best not to bring fresh fruits or vegetables into the United States. But if you plan to, call APHIS and get a copy of Traveler's Tips, which lists what you can and can't bring, and also items for which you'll need a permit. For more information, visit http://www.aphis.usda.gov/travel/ or http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ppq/permits.