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Bringing Spices Back to the States

Portland, Oregon
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336 posts
23 reviews
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Bringing Spices Back to the States

Last year we found some amazing spices at the San Ignacio market but didn't buy any because we were uncertain if they would be confiscated by US Customs upon our return. These were loosely packaged and we have no way to bottle or vacuum seal anything while we are there. Anyone know what the restrictions are on spices? It's not really food but I expect the government has its own interpretation of what that means. I sure would love to bring some things home this year. TIA.

Saint James City...
Destination Expert
for San Pedro
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15,489 posts
10 reviews
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1. Re: Bringing Spices Back to the States

I bought lots of spices just packed in baggies back from the 'spice island' of Grenada a few years ago.

Customs did want to have a look at them, but, they were satisfied with what they saw.

Caribbean
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5,923 posts
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2. Re: Bringing Spices Back to the States

I didn't declare some items that I didn't consider food, and was informed by a Customs officer that it is food and must be declared on the customs form. It would be very unlikely to be confiscated, but it must be declared.

Saint James City...
Destination Expert
for San Pedro
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15,489 posts
10 reviews
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3. Re: Bringing Spices Back to the States

Good point. I did declare the ones coming back from Grenada. They just wanted to see exactly what I had with me.

The Dalles, Oregon
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for Guatemala, Belize
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11,693 posts
327 reviews
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4. Re: Bringing Spices Back to the States

Hmmmm....I bring spices back with me from Guatemala every year and have never declared them or been stopped in customs for a look.

Portland, Oregon
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336 posts
23 reviews
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5. Re: Bringing Spices Back to the States

Thanks for the feedback. I will bring back spices. I will declare them. I will not be stupid enough to bring back anything herbal that invites a latex glove search...

Caribbean
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5,923 posts
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6. Re: Bringing Spices Back to the States

I'm certain that many travellers, including myself, have imported food items without making a declaration, and never been stopped or asked. I never carry meat or fruit, but often carry things like tea, sugar & spices.

But one day, I was asked and the officer said, "What made you think that isn't a food item?", and added that the fine is $4000. He just warned me not to do it again.

Maybe he was just having a bad day or being a jerk, but it's less trouble to declare any item that gets swallowed.

7. Re: Bringing Spices Back to the States

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