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Olympics Travelers Notice: Check with APHIS Before Bringing Agricultural Products Back From Russia
WASHINGTON, February 5, 2014—As the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia approach, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) wants to remind U.S. travelers attending the games to check with us before bringing agricultural products back home. To protect American agriculture from foreign pests and diseases, many agricultural products from other countries are prohibited from entering the United States.
While you may think that cooked or packaged meats, and fruits and vegetables are safe to bring back, these products could present a serious risk to U.S. agriculture. The importation of fresh meat into the United States from Russia is prohibited and many Russian meat products are restricted, and may be prohibited, depending on how they’re processed. In addition, several plants and plant products are also prohibited entry into the United States from Russia, including most fresh fruits and vegetables, handicrafts made of unprocessed wood or containing seeds such as millet, and seeds for planting.
CBP officers assigned to international airports serve as an additional safeguarding resource and may check your baggage upon your return to the United States. Please remember that you must declare all food and agricultural products, including those listed above, to a CBP agriculture specialist or officer when you arrive in the United States.
The civil penalty for failing to declare agricultural items at U.S. ports of entry costs first time offenders $300. The penalty for a second violation goes up to $500. To avoid receiving a penalty, declare all agricultural items, and when in doubt present them to CBP for inspection so that an agriculture specialist can determine if your items are admissible.
For more information about the importation of meat and meat products, please call 301-851-3300 and select Option 1 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the importation of plants and plant products, please call 301-851-2046 or toll-free at 877-770-5990. You can also email our plant health staff at email@example.com.
Thanks for doing your part to help keep U.S. agriculture safe and enjoy the games!