As you rush out the door to catch your flight – you might not think twice about throwing a few snacks into your carry-on bag.
Or maybe you think packing up the rest of your uneaten sandwich you got at the airport is harmless.
But as it turns out, not declaring the food in your carry-on bag could cost you thousands of dollars in fines – along with other harsh penalties. So here’s what you need to know.
The world was shocked when they learned about one woman who was charged a whopping $1,874 fine – simply for failing to disclose she had two sausage and egg McMuffins in her backpack.
Then there was traveler Jessica Lee. After flying over 8,000 miles, she was starving – so she picked up a footlong from Subway at the Singapore airport.
Eating only half of it, she stuffed the other half in her bag for later – not even thinking twice about it.
Only to get fined $1,840 with 28 days to pay up due to Australia’s “biosecurity laws.”
While these seem like extreme situations – they are more common than you think.
Other countries are strict on allowing in outside food – especially fruit, seeds, and vegetables.
So does this mean you’re forbidden from traveling with food?
Not necessarily – but as a rule of thumb, always declare it at Customs.
The Points Guy reported:
“With food and agriculture products, the best advice to travelers is to always declare it,” a US Customs and Border Protection public affairs officer told The Points Guy.
“While many [items] may be permissible, it’s best to declare them to avoid possible fines and penalties if they are deemed prohibited.”
A firm statement on the US Customs and Border Protection website warns passengers that “all food products” must be declared, and that failure to do so “can result in up to $10,000 in fines and penalties.”
As frustrating and annoying as it is – power-hungry TSA agents love exercising their ability to torture and fine passengers…
… so don’t even give them the option.
And just to be safe – make sure you claim ANY food in your bag before you get off the plane.
Crystal Tadlock was given an apple during her Delta flight – still in its packaging. She never even thought to claim it – afterall, she received it on her flight back to the United States – from a flight attendant!
But Customs agents weren’t having it – and charged her $500 for bringing the apple back with her.
She asked if they’d just let her eat it real quick or throw it away instead of enforcing the fine – but she was denied, reported USA Today.
So when in doubt – either pitch the food before you get off the plane or be sure to claim it.
Stashing away an egg McMuffin to eat later isn’t worth getting slapped with a nearly $2,000 fine.
What are your thoughts on passengers being fined exorbitant fees for unclaimed food items?
Do you think Customs should give travelers a break for an honest mistake?
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