Times were tough abroad and you have some broth and noodles left over? Well toss it in the trash, because it’s not going to get you far once you return home. Customs officials aren’t fans of pretty much anything containing even the smallest little bit of meat, and that means that stuff like soup mix or bouillon isn’t going to fly. Slurp your soup back at the airport or be prepared to step out of the line for additional search—and possibly seizure. Oh, and it kind of goes without saying, but haggis also needs to stay behind—that’s big time meat.
Most cheese—both hard and semi-soft—is probably okay, but of course Uncle Sam has the right to disagree. The rules seem to be a little less stringent here, but don't try smuggling cheese that's partially a liquid. That means ricotta cheese is probably best left in Italy, and the runny stuff from France or England should also be consumed while on vacation. Oh, and for those who prefer meat with their cheese, that’s a no too—assuming that they were prepared together.
This kind of goes for anything from a country that the United States has an terrible relationship with, so if Hillary Clinton isn’t bringing it home for Bill—you shouldn’t either. Any merchandise or other goodies from embargoed countries like Iran, Cuba, Burma (Myanmar), and most of Sudan is not the best idea. This obviously includes smokes from the island nation, but also include pretty much everything else. Exceptions to the rule are things like photographs, magazines and books, but blank media is still against the rules. So leave those blank CDs that you bought over in Iran back in Tehran before heading home.
Just in case you wanted to know it’s not a good idea to bring back dog or cat fur into the US of A. It’s also probably best to leave that animal hide drum back in Haiti, because apparently the CDC isn’t too cool with them—they have been traced to cases of anthrax. Soil is also not welcome back at home, unless you have the necessary permits to transport. That means resist the urge to stock up at the foreign Home Depot, and get the Miracle-Gro when you get home.
If we missed anything—or you know how to smuggle it in anyway—be sure to leave a note in the comments below.