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  4. For the Upcoming Holiday Season, CBP Reminds Public of Prohibited Agricultural Items that Can Carry Pests and Diseases

For the Upcoming Holiday Season, CBP Reminds Public of Prohibited Agricultural Items that Can Carry Pests and Diseases

Release Date
Mon, 12/14/2020

LAREDO, Texas — As the U.S.-Mexico border community observes the upcoming holiday season, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is advising the traveling public that certain agricultural items used in holiday festivities are prohibited from entry to the U.S. and can carry harmful pests and diseases. 

“We would like to remind cross border travelers as we approach the holidays that there are certain fruits, vegetables commonly used in holiday observances that are prohibited from entry,” said Acting Port Director Eugene E. Crawford, Laredo Port of Entry. “Please remember to declare all agricultural items upon entry to the U.S. and consult the CBP website and links within this news release for important information regarding prohibited, restricted items.”

An inspection table at Laredo Port of Entry shows prohibited fruits adn vegetables encountered by CBP agriculture specialists during a recent examination
An inspection table contains prohibited fruits and
vegetables encountered by CBP agriculture
specialists during a recent examination at Laredo
Port of Entry.

Many border community families celebrate the Christmas holiday by taking part in posadas. Posadas are religious festivals celebrated in Mexico and some parts of the United States between December 16 and 24. Las Posadas commemorates the journey that Joseph and Mary made from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of a safe refuge where Mary could give birth to the baby Jesus.

Common to these celebrations is the ponche or punch; usually made with sugarcane, guavas and apples (all prohibited items).  Many times, children will receive candy bags with fruit at these events. 

Citrus fruit that is prohibited from personal importation includes the following: oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, sour oranges and sweet limes. Other popular fruits that are also prohibited include apples, guavas, mangoes, peaches and pomegranates.

Failure to declare prohibited agricultural items also can result in fines. Penalties for personal importations of undeclared, prohibited agricultural items, depending on the severity of the violation, can run as high as $1,000 and up to more than $250,000 for commercial importations.

The traveling public can learn more about prohibited fruits, vegetables, prepared foods and other items, please consult CBP’s “Know Before You Go” guide.

USDA guidelines for bringing agricultural items to the U.S.

Last Modified: Mar 01, 2024