Vacation Warning: Leave These Souvenirs Behind - NBC Southern California
LOOKING OUT 4 YOU

SEND TIPS

Vacation Warning: Leave These Souvenirs Behind

Customs officials at Los Angeles International Airport will confiscate some items and impose serious fines — up to $10,000 — if you break the rules upon your return from abroad.

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Bringing fruit home could get you in trouble. Randy Mac reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on July 23, 2015. (Published Thursday, July 23, 2015)

    If you’re traveling to another country this summer, heed this vacation warning: Bringing certain souvenirs home could seriously strip your wallet.

    Customs officials at Los Angeles International Airport will confiscate some items and impose serious fines — up to $10,000 — if you break the rules upon your return from abroad.

    Topping the list of restricted items: Fresh fruits and vegetables.

    “We are charged with protecting America’s agriculture sector,” said U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Jaime Ruiz. “It’s a critical sector to the vitality of the economy.”

    “California produces 70 to 80 percent of all the (nation’s) fruits and vegetables,” Ruiz continued. "It’s a matter of national security.”

    California has felt the impact of imported contaminated produce: between 1975 and 1993, the state spent more than $170 million to combat repeated infestations of the Mediterranean fruit fly, or “Medfly.”

    At least one of these outbreaks was traced back to a traveler importing one piece of contaminated fruit.

    If agents discover concealed agricultural products in your luggage, “You’re going to get fined, and it can start at $300 and go up,” Ruiz told the I-Team.

    Other restricted items include:

    • Absinthe
    • Certain plants, and crafts made from plants
    • Ivory
    • Ancient artifacts
    • Certain meat-based products
    • Designer knockoffs
    • More than $10,000 cash

    For more information on U.S. Customs restrictions, visit their website here.

    Get the latest from NBC4 anywhere, anytime

    • Download the App

      Available for IOS and Android