Ingredients for popular holiday drink, pork tamales not allowed north of border, CBP warns

SAN DIEGO (Border Report) – U.S. Customs and border protection are reminding the public that guavas, hawthorn apples and sugar cane from Mexico are banned from entering the United States.

These are some of the ingredients in “ponche,” a traditional Mexican drink shared and enjoyed by many Latin American families along the Southwestern border during the holiday season.

CBP officers and agricultural experts expect an increase in attempts to import these and other food items.

The banned items could introduce harmful pests into the country’s agriculture. Hawthorn apples, and in particular guavas, are hosts of exotic fruit flies.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, fruit flies are the most destructive pests of fruits and vegetables in the world.

“It is an important part of CBP’s mission to identify and stop pests and diseases at the border before they spread elsewhere, so CBP officers and agricultural specialists will be at hand. look out for these items, ”said Pete Flores, director of the CBP office. field operations in San Diego. “Travelers can avoid delays and penalties by remembering that these items are prohibited and by declaring any items they bring into the United States.”

This time of year is also synonymous with tamales for many families.

Only small quantities of pork tamales for personal consumption are permitted at ports of entry. (Salvador Rivera / Report on the border)

“You can import them except for pork tamales,” said Rosie Maizuss, CBP 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 pork that we don’t have in the United States.

Maizuss recommends making or buying pork tamales north of the border.

“If you don’t report these items, you can be fined $ 300 to $ 10,000,” Maizuss said.

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