Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Busted for Smuggling Contraband Chocolate Into USA

Recently, on the way home from some educational conference in Canada, a small group of travelers got quite a surprise when they reached the border. The group appeared to be in good spirits, and while making witty banter with the border control agent at the US-Canada border, explained that they had bought a lot of those Kinder Surprise chocolate eggs. No one in the group knew that those fun chocolate eggs were illegal in the US.

Needless to say, the border control agent was less than thrilled with the ordeal. Fortunately for the chocolate smugglers, and one random Canadian, rather than do the paperwork, the customs agent let one of the group members walk back over to Canada and give all the Kinder chocolates to someone, and then cross back over.

Why Are Kinder Surprise Eggs Banned?

Under US laws, the Kinder Surprise eggs pose a significant choking risk to children and are banned for that reason. Not shockingly, because the Kinder Surprise egg is so popular worldwide, they are frequently confiscated by border control agents.

In a 2011 story about a Canadian woman getting in trouble for smuggling a Kinder egg into the US, it was disclosed that the border patrol had confiscated approximately 25,000 in about 2,000 separate seizures. Also, that woman was threatened with a fine for $300 and then told that if she refused to authorize the chocolate egg's destruction, she would have to pay $250 for its storage.

Smuggling Chocolate Can Have Serious Consequences

While the Canadian woman was only threatened with a $300 fine, according to another source, that fine is actually $2,500. Smuggling the delightful confections is big business too. As one large bust up in Washington State landed three Canadian women arrested and in US custody for smuggling over 6,000 Kinder eggs. That report explains that it is estimated that nearly 800K Kinder eggs are smuggled into the US every year.

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