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Published 7 months ago with 5 Comments

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  • StarFlower

    Actually, the US customs declaration form is very clear. Any fruit or meat products absolutely need to be declared. I do feel for this woman, who it seems made an honest mistake and it unfortunately cost her a lot of money. I understand that she wasn't meaning to circumvent the customs rules. But the form is quite clear, and bringing something into the country counts, even if it was served on the plane and the person was intending to eat it on a subsequent flight. It's still being brought across the border. Other countries, such as New Zealand, have even stricter penalties for not declaring fruit. Again, I do realize the woman made a simple mistake that was an oversight, and I understand that she might have been thinking of what was in her checked baggage and not her carry-on while filling out the form. It could happen to anyone.

    I do think one helpful action would be if the airlines themselves reminded passengers about this sort of thing as they were about to land, to think about everything that they are bringing in on checked and carry-on baggage, including any foods served in-flight that they are saving. I've also noticed a lack of amnesty boxes coming into the US, as compared with some other countries. So more amnesty boxes could be another helpful action. These boxes are placed before clearing customs, and make it easy to dispose of items that you don't want to declare. These also serve as a reminder to people (to declare or dispose) since they can be decorated with pictures of fruit or other things that people might want to dispose of.

    • Appaloosa

      Unless they think you are being evasive or tricky, they usually just take it from you, especially just one apple. It happens all the time. If it was an honest mistake and she was not being flippant, the officer who fined her is an asshole. As usual, we never get the full story.

  • NotWearingPants

    Good to know these lawless apple smugglers don't get off easy.

    The "safety" or "pests" thing just doesn't work. That apple's destination, had it not been given out, would likely have been in the trash. Reminds me of this in that it would have ended up "in the environment" anyway. Nice way to fleece the tourists, I guess.

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