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Foie gras

Is it permissible to bring a couple if tins of foie gras through customs into U.S.?

Posted by
719 posts

I'm certainly not a customs officer, but as I read the information available below, I believe that you may be able to as long as it is commercially produced & labeled, cooked and shelf stable. But I strongly suggest reading the links an information below and be sure to declare the foie gras at immigration/customs.
==>"Meat, milk, egg, poultry, and their products, including products made with these materials are either prohibited or restricted from entering the United States. For further information, please visit the Don’t Pack A Pest website."<==

==>"USDA does not allow travelers to bring back most poultry meat or poultry meat products from countries affected with certain serious poultry diseases:

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza
Newcastle Disease
To find out a country’s status for these diseases, visit our animal disease status page.

Commercially-packaged and labelled, cooked, shelf-stable poultry items from affected countries that are in unopened packages are allowed. However, travelers may not bring back more than 50 pounds of an item. Shipments larger than 50 pounds are considered commercial shipments and must meet additional requirements through USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. Contact them at (202) 720-9904 or

Cooked poultry meat or poultry meat products from affected countries will be inspected by U.S. Customs & Border Protection. Items appearing to be “thoroughly cooked throughout” will be allowed entry. Items that do not appear “thoroughly cooked throughout” will not be allowed without special certification and an import permit.

Travelers may bring back fresh (chilled or frozen), cooked, cured or dried poultry meat from countries without these diseases if they have official documentation to prove the product’s country of origin. The following items are considered official documentation: package label; written documentation; proof of travel (passport or travel itinerary); origin of flight; receipt of sale; CBP document (based on the officer’s interview of the traveler); a meat inspection certificate; or certificate of origin.

Specific guidance for travelers entering the United States at Canadian land borders with this category of commodities can be found here."<==

Posted by
7710 posts

I think the most accurate answer is, "it depends" and what it depends on is probably a long list of minutia and current bulletins.

But in general, canned should be OK, Jars particularly those that are not hermetically sealed (use clips and fat for preservation) likely are not. It also depends if there is an outbreak of something going on in the area.

Myself, I have brought back canned, I declare it (I think anymore there is just one check box that includes food, alcohol, produce, etc.) and I always have some food item and alcohol.

At immigration you may be asked what exactly you have, sometimes they specifically ask about meat and produce.

The USDA asking to check your bags is more rare, but if you are up front, you can't get into trouble (except for flat out illegal things), and the most they will do is keep the offending items.

With all that, I say go ahead and get a few tins. Declare that you have food, answer questions openly, and likely you will be fine. I might think twice about paying 40 or 50 euro for a tin, but I tend to be frugal and would do that anyway.

Posted by
1452 posts

Several years ago a friend brought back half a large suitcase filled with tinned foie gras. She declared it and customs opened her bag. They couldn't believe that amount of foie gras could be for personal consumption and wanted her to pay duties on it. But in a voice that only a teenager can use my friend's daughter said "ummm, this is for her personal consumption." No additional questions asked.