Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pack your passport, but don't pack Kinder eggs for your next U.S. trip

Photo by Canwest News Service
When packing your car or airline carry-on for your next trip to the U.S., be careful of what you pack to keep your kids entertained.  Kinder Surprise eggs, those insanely popular chocolate eggs with the little toy inside, are banned from sale or import into the U.S. and you can face a fine if you are found with them.

Back in January, a Winnipeg woman crossing the U.S. border was selected for a random vehicle search.  On finding a single $2 Kinder Surprise egg, the customs officer seized the egg as illegal contraband and she was warned she could have faced a $300 fine.  Afterwards, the U.S. government sent her a seven-page letter asking her to formally authorize the destruction of her seized Kinder egg, adding if she wished to contest the seizure, she’d have to pay $250 for it to be stored while the parties squabble over it.  According to a CBC news story, U.S. officials claim to have seized over 25,000 Kinder eggs in the course of 2,000 separate seizures, so this clearly isn’t a one-time occurrence.

The Kinder Surprise eggs were launched in Italy in 1972 but have never been approved for sale in the U.S. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission determined Kinder Surprise eggs did not meet the small-parts requirement for toys for kids under three because of the choking hazard (oddly, Cracker Jack popcorn has never been subject to the same ban).  In Canada, Kinder eggs are permitted because it was determined the plastic container actually holding the toy is far too difficult for a child under three to get into.

So, if you are traveling to the U.S., stay on the safe side and leave your Kinder Surprise eggs at home!

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