$500 Fine For an Apple?
There has been a lot of media attention about a person who was fined $500 for bringing an apple on an international flight into the United States. Some are even blaming Delta Airlines because they served the apple on an international flight. I guess you should not offer a healthy snack on an international flight? I agree the fine seems outrageous and the customs agent was not exactly polite at least from what I read. However, there is a reason that there are regulations on bringing different foods into the United States.
There are highly contagious foreign animal diseases in other countries that are not in the United States. There are also many pathogens and insects affecting fruits and vegetables in other countries but not here. The regulations are to prevent a disease, insect or some pathogen from entering the United States that would devastate our industry. Remember when Europe had a Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak in 2001?
Assume you visited friends in Europe and they packed some ham sandwiches for your flight back to the United States. You had a little cooler in your carryon baggage for your lunch. You did not eat all the sandwiches and you took them home. If the pig was infected with Foot and Mouth Disease and you came in contact with any cloven foot animal they could contract Foot and Mouth Disease.
The ham would taste fine and you would not get Foot and Mouth Disease. However, any cloven foot animal could contract the disease. That means all cattle, hogs, sheep and goats. When a herd of animals is diagnosed with Foot and Mouth disease they are euthanized, burned and buried to try and prevent the spread of the disease. In 2001 over 6 million cattle head of cattle and sheep had to be killed in Europe!