A family of four weren’t too pleased when they got off their flight from Israel to New Jersey to find that they had to pay a fine of $300 for five pieces of fruit — three cucumbers, an apple and a tomato — stashed in a backpack, even though the Customs agent could have chosen to just destroy the food.
The mom says she packed the food as something for her family to snack on during the flight. But her husband didn’t know it was in there and thus marked “no” on the customs form question asking about “fruits, vegetables, plants, seeds, insects.”
“You’re coming off a flight after 19 hours. You’re all flustered. You don’t know what world you’re on. The first thing on your mind isn’t vegetables in your backpack,” the husband tells CBS New York.
So when they went through Customs and the uneaten snacks were found, they were told they had violated regulations. Customs officials confirm to CBS New York that in such cases it’s up to the agent’s discretion to either fine the traveler or destroy the food. The agent went with the former.
Whether or not you agree with the travelers’ complaint, please let this be a reminder to be very mindful about any foodstuffs you might have in your bags when traveling internationally, as a few dollars’ worth of fruit can end up costing you much, much more in the end.
Thanks to Samuel for the tip!