SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection is reminding the public that guavas, hawthorn apples and sugarcane from Mexico are prohibited from entering the United States.
These are some of the ingredients in “ponche,” which is a traditional Mexican drink shared and enjoyed among many Latino families along the southwest border during the holiday season.
CBP officers and agriculture specialists are expecting an increase in the attempted importation of these prohibited ingredients and other food items.
The prohibited items could introduce harmful pests to the nation’s agriculture. Hawthorn apples, and especially guavas, are hosts to exotic fruit flies.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, fruit flies are the most destructive pests of fruits and vegetables around the world.
“It is an important part of the CBP mission to identify and stop pests and diseases at the border before they spread elsewhere, so CBP officers and agriculture specialists will be on the lookout for these items,” said Pete Flores, the director of CBP’s Office of Field Operations in San Diego. “Travelers can avoid delays and penalties by remembering that these items are prohibited and by declaring all items that they are bringing into the United States.”
This time of the year also means tamales for a lot of families.
“You can bring them in with the exception of pork tamales,” said Rosie Maizuss, CBP’s Chief Agricultural Specialist at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. “You can only bring a personal amount for consumption of pork tamales because there are several diseases in swine that we don’t have in the United States.
Maizuss recommends making or buying pork tamales north of the border.
“If you don’t declare these items you can get fined $300 to $10,000 said Maizuss.