Nearly 100 pounds of cheese seized at border

Officials: Woman hid cheese underneath vehicle seats at Gateway to the Americas Bridge

Published On: Oct 12 2012 03:33:54 PM CDT
LAREDO, Texas -

Nearly 100 pounds of undeclared cheese were seized after border agents found them hidden in a Laredo woman's vehicle, officials said.

The seizure happened on Sunday, Oct. 6 at the Gateway to the Americas Bridge.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said one of its officers ordered a second examination for a Ford Windstar driven by a 29-year-old female U.S. citizen from Laredo. 

During the examination, officers discovered packages of undeclared cheese hidden under the seats. CBP said it seized 92 packages containing 92.70 pounds of cheese.

The woman was issued a $464 penalty for failure to declare the cheese. The cheese was destroyed.

“By seizing a commercial quantity of undeclared cheese brought through the passenger vehicle lanes, CBP officers upheld laws designed to provide safeguards that cheese and other food products are properly imported and are fit for human consumption,” said Sidney Aki, Port Director, Laredo Port of Entry. “Keeping American Agriculture and the U.S. consumer safe are key objectives of CBP.”

According to the CBP, travelers may import an amount of cheese consistent with personal use, but generally not more than 10 pounds. Amounts larger than that require formal commercial entry and the importation must abide by all applicable U.S. laws and regulations.

To learn about the items that can and cannot be brought into the U.S., visit the CPB web site.

The Food and Drug Administration has its own set of requirements for importing food products, including cheese, which is available on the FDA's web site.