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Bringing Food into the U.S.

Many agriculture products are prohibited entry into the United States from certain countries because they may carry plant pests and foreign animal diseases.  All agriculture items must be declared and are subject to inspection by a CBP Agriculture Specialist at ports of entry to ensure they are free of plant pests and foreign animal diseases. Prohibited or restricted items may include meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, plants, seeds, soil and products made from animal or plant materials.  For generally allowed food items please visit USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Declared agriculture items, in non-commercial quantities, that are found to be prohibited or restricted by the CBP Agriculture Specialists can be abandoned at the port of entry should the traveler wish to continue into the U.S. However, undeclared prohibited agriculture items will be confiscated and can result in the issuance of a civil penalty to the traveler for failure to declare the prohibited item. All agricultural items that are abandoned or confiscated at ports of entry are destroyed in accordance with USDA approved destruction methods to prevent spread of pests and diseases.

Agricultural pests and diseases are a threat to U.S. crop production and to the livestock industry. Some animal diseases can be highly contagious and could cause severe economic damage to livestock and result in losses in production, which could lead to increased costs for meat and dairy products. Plant pests and disease, as well as invasive plant material can cause crop loss and also damage lawns, ornamental plants, and trees.  Plant pest infestations can result in increased costs to consumers due to pest eradication efforts as well as lower crop yields.  High risk plant pest and animal disease outbreaks within the U.S. could also adversely affect the economy as a result of reduced trade of U.S. origin goods to countries around the world.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Homeland Security are partners in the effort to protect American agriculture against the introduction of pests and diseases at our nation's ports of entry. USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service determines what agricultural products are admissible into the U.S. and what products pose a risk and should be prohibited or restricted entry. U.S. Customs and Border Protection enforce these agricultural rules and regulations at ports of entry. Learn more about protecting agriculture.

For more information on agricultural policy see Agricultural Information for International Travelers and APHIS' Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ).