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Importation Advisory: Citrus Fruit May Not Be Brought Into the United States

Release Date: 
December 18, 2012

Great Falls, Mont. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection want importers and the traveling public to know that mandarin or "Christmas" oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, and pomelos 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 Great Falls 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."

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 United States 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 pomelos. Also, rice soybeans, chickpeas, and safflower seed grown in most North African and Middle Eastern countries are prohibited due to the Khapra beetle, a small, but very destructive pest that attacks stored grains.

Failure to declare prohibited agriculture products or food items may result in the issuance of fines up to $1,000.

These oranges were recently seized from travelers at Sweetgrass, MT.

Remember to declare all fruits, vegetables, plants, meats, processed animal products (such as dried soup mixes), 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, dairy and 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 on the CBP website.

CBP strives to facilitate legitimate travel into the United States while securing our borders, people and visitors from dangerous people and goods.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017