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Israeli travelers - Can I bring back mud?

I was once flagged coming back to the US from abroad with a banana, so I am now a bit paranoid about what I have acquired from my trips overseas. Customs states “no soil” and I would not think packaged mud would apply, but ya never know. Though I cannot re-create the experience exactly, I have some remaining mud in an open package, and would love to use it at home. Anyone have experience bringing back Dead Sea mud from Israel?

Posted by
5865 posts

Well, the proper answer is when you arrive, you answer the question about "plants, soil, etc" Yes, and let the USDA decide. If it is truly a commercial product that has been packaged for cosmetic use, then likely it is fine, it probably was Pasteurized or sterilized. If it is simply scooped out of the Dead Sea into a container, then there may be concerns. Basically they want to keep out bugs and pathogens that could devastate crops.

Posted by
375 posts

I brought back a package of unopened Dead Sea mud in fall of 2018. We cleared customs in JFK. It was not a problem. Don't know about an opened package.

Posted by
1179 posts

I think the real issue is that it is opened. Customs has no idea if the container contains the original or a substitute product.

Posted by
11253 posts

Declare it.

If you declare it and they say no, the worst that can happen is they take it away.

If you don't declare it and they find it, not only will they take it away but you could get a hefty fine.....and get dinged for a search every time you come back into the country.

Posted by
9717 posts

I fall on the side of declaring anything and letting the Customs agent decide. I brought in rice from France in October and even after reading the Customs and Ag sites was unsure. I stepped up to the desk, he said "Anything to declare", I said I've got a bag of red rice from France, he said OK, no problem. Next!

Posted by
1179 posts

If you don't declare it and they find it, not only will they take it away but you could get a hefty fine.....and get dinged for a search every time you come back into the country.

You will also permanently disqualify yourself as a trusted traveler (Global Entry and TSA Pre).

Posted by
252 posts

Thanks all, for your replies. It never occurred to me that the mud is available on amazon. I think I will use some on the rest of my trip, and then ditch the rest. Not worth the worry.