Can You Bring Beef or Pork Jerky back to the United States?

Just two weeks ago, I was wandering through the Hong Kong International Airport when I came across an Aji Ichiban outlet store. It’s a unique confectionary brand selling snacks.  Like a moth to a flame, I quickly darted over to check out the store.  As someone with a sweet tooth, all the snacks in the store may as well be glistening like diamonds.  I was like a kid in a candy store.

The Case of the Jerky

After some deliberation, I settled on buying the roasted pork jerky.  I still have an onward trip and figured that the snacks would work in a pinch in case I get hungry.

I didn’t stop there.  Mind you, I knew these are good so I decided to get another bag to bring back home.  The second bag is an assorted bag of smaller individually wrapped jerky.  I thought these are just perfect to share with family, friends and colleagues.

You can probably see the problem from a mile away.  I mostly forgot about them until my sister asked, “Hey, can you actually bring them home?  Are they allowed through customs?”

Darn it.  That really burst my bubble.

Oh, Customs

This led to a chase for answers. These are cooked and packaged goods, and they didn’t come cheap. I would just hate to see them wasted/confiscated.  I certainly don’t want my Global Entry to be revoked for bringing in prohibited or restricted items.  What if I declare them at customs and hope for the best?

Other’s experiences appeared to be a hit or a miss (mostly a miss).  I decided to go straight to the source, the Custom and Border Protection (CBP)’s website, to find out for myself.  The answer is pretty clear:

“The importation of fresh, dried or canned meats or meat products is generally not allowed from most foreign countries into the United States. This includes products that have been prepared with meat.”

I decided it was not a good idea to try to bring it back home. Even if it’s there a chance it could go through, I’d rather not risk it*.

*Interestingly, we actually got pulled over for inspection at customs, but that’s another story.

Lesson Learned

With very little time before heading back home, I decided to do what I do best. That is, eat as much of it as possible. 🙂  And give the rest away.

And even though I like the snacks, you can have too much of a good thing.  I got sick of them quickly enough.  I just know that I won’t be buying, eating, or even looking at getting another jerky any time soon.

Have you purchased something abroad only to remember or find out that you can’t bring it home? 

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Source: Travel Gadget Reviews

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