Mailing meat can mean hefty fines

Robert Szostek
U.S. European Command Customs

Many U.S. personnel in Europe have received a $100 fine from the Bureau
of Customs and Border Protection because they mailed packages of wurst,
ham or paté to the United States. However, infestations of animal
disease cost the U.S. taxpayer much more than this, i.e., millions of
dollars each year.

It is illegal to import red meats and sausage into the U.S. without
U.S. Department of Agriculture approval. Trying to “sneak” them into
the country is a crime and a tip worth remembering when you prepare
your Christmas shopping list this year.

CBP officials routinely checks packages from overseas. Dogs are specially trained to sniff out prohibited food products.

“All packages mailed to the U.S. must have a customs declaration,” said
William Manning, USDA attaché to the European Command. “In many cases,
people falsely list the contents of the packages. Willfully trying to
import anything into the USA without declaring it, is smuggling and
carries very stiff penalties and fines,” he added.

To aid in the fight against pests and diseases in the U.S., we must all do our part.

“We can all start by honoring our import laws,” Manning stated. “It’s the right thing to do and it’s the law.”

Call a military customs office to find out more, or visit the Web site