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.

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.

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