US Customs Restrictions - Food and Alcohol



If you are trying to enter the US at the end of a cruise, there are restrictions on what the US will allow you to bring across its borders.

The most notable is probably absinthe - a famous alcohol which supposedly causes mental problems for the drinkers. You can probably imagine why this is illegal to bring into the US :)

Fresh fruit and vegetables are almost universally forbidden. There are many recent outbreaks of truly nasty pests that can be traced to travelers bringing in contaminated fruit. You wouldn't want to be responsible for a multi-million-dollar disaster in a local fruit or vegetable industry. Just leave them behind.

The same is definitely true for any meat product. Meat can harbor really nasty diseases that can be hard to wipe out once they get a foothold. Don't bring any animals or animal products across the border. Cat and dog fur are expressly prohibited.

If you have a food item that is "made", you're usually safe. So things like balsamic vinegars, honeys, spices, etc. that are sealed are normally let through customs.

Note that plants - even if you don't intend to eat them - are also very highly regulated. There is the same infestation potential that exists with fruits and vegetables. If you really have to bring a plant through customs, make sure you talk ahead of time with appropriate people and get clearance for that.

Cruising Tips and Information Main Page