SWEETGRASS, Mont. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations want importers and the traveling public to know that mandarin or “Christmas” oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, and pomelo are banned from non-commercial import into the United States.
“Typically we see an influx of ‘Christmas oranges’ around the holiday season and when Canadian citizens travel to southern states for the winter,” said Sweetgrass Area Port Director Daniel Escobedo. “We just want to get the word out that these products are prohibited from being imported into the United States because of the unseen diseases and pests they may carry. Even citrus that was grown in the United States, but purchased in Canada, is prohibited from returning to the U.S., due to possible exposure to injurious diseases while in storage.”
Citrus fruit may become infected with highly contagious diseases such as citrus canker, sweet orange scab, or citrus black spot merely by coming into contact with infected fruit in grocery store warehouses or by people carrying infection on their hands, clothing, or equipment. Another disease, citrus greening, is transmitted by a tiny insect, the Asian citrus psyllid, which is no bigger than the head of a pin. While these diseases don’t make people sick, they have resulted in production declines, loss of income, and fruit-movement quarantines in Florida, Arizona, California, Louisiana, and Texas.
Fresh fruits and vegetables grown outside of the United States, or Canada, are typically prohibited. However, even some Canadian and U.S.-grown fruits and vegetables may not be brought into the U.S. by travelers. These include: Canadian origin tomatoes, peppers, green onions, leeks, chives, garlic with green tops, and home-grown potatoes; and U.S. grown oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, and pomelo. Also, rice soybeans, chickpeas, and safflower seed grown in most North African and Middle Eastern countries are prohibited due to Khapra beetle, a small, but very destructive pest that attacks stored grains.
Remember to declare all fruits, vegetables, plants, meats, processed animal products (such as dried soup mixes and pet food), pets, or wood products, including firewood, to CBP officers at ports of entry. Failure to declare prohibited agriculture products or food items may result in the issuance of fines up to $1,000.
Before bringing fruits, meats and dairy/poultry products into the U.S. from Canada, you can check whether they are permitted by reviewing the “Know Before You Go” tip sheet, located in the Travel section of cbp.gov here.
CBP strives to facilitate legitimate travel into the U.S. while securing our borders, people and visitors from dangerous people and goods.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.