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Kinder crime: Why a traveler was busted because of a chocolate egg
A couple was detained for taking Kinder Surprise eggs into the U.S. Here are 10 other strange contraband items around the world
A couple has been detained crossing into the United States from Canada after trying to enter with ... candies of non-nutritive quality.
The six Kinder Surprise eggs Chris Sweeney and Brandon Loo allegedly attempted to smuggle into the country are contraband in the United States because the small toys they contain within their sweet, sweet shells could constitute a choking hazard.
After two hours in detention -- "Where did you purchase the excessively sweet chocolate, sir? Is there any other candy on your person I should be aware of?" -- the pair were allowed to go on their way.
No doubt this troublesome duo are busy planning their next hit -- a handbag full of chewing gum into Singapore.
So just as a warning to them, and other travelers, here are a few other banned items to be aware of.
This information is correct at time of writing, but laws are subject to change. Always check the conditions for arrival into a country before your trip.
1. Kinder Surprise eggs, United States
U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized about 25,000 Kinder eggs in 1,700 separate incidents in 2010, and the agency reissued a longstanding warning against the import of the chocolate treat this year right before Easter.
Kinder Surprise eggs are banned because they have “a non-nutritive object imbedded” in them, and thus pose a potential safety hazard to children below the age of three.
American children have to travel to Canada to know the delights of the world’s greatest chocolate-plus-toy combination.
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2. Marmite and Vegemite, Denmark
The preferred yeast-extract spreads of Britons and Aussies were banned in Denmark on the basis that Marmite and Vegemite are products that contain “enhanced vitamins.”
What do they put on their toast?
3. Cordless telephones, Indonesia
Alongside the usual restrictions on bringing live animals and produce into the country, Indonesian authorities have also prohibited travelers from bringing in cordless phones without an approved license.
Instead you'll have to order your Domino's pizza using Morse code on a flashlight.
4. Mosquito nets, Nigeria
Most countries like to think travelers will take preventative measures against disease. Not Nigeria.
Mosquito nets are thrown into the "prohibited" basket along with mineral water, fruit and jewelry.
5. Electric pans, toasters and irons, Cuba
Count household appliances among the don’ts for your packing list when you head into Cuba.
Fresh animal products? Also banned. Printed material against public morality? No. That electric frying pan you were sitting on the fence about? Sorry.
You're going to have to wait to get back home before you can do your chores.
6. Eggplants and red peppers, China
Import prohibitions on produce are a wise and necessary measure to prevent the spread of foreign diseases. Though quite what diseases Chinese customs think they're preventing by banning eggplants and red peppers remains to be seen.
Guns and ammunition though? A OK.
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7. New articles of clothing, Malaysia
Malaysia limits visitors to three articles of new clothing in their baggage upon entry to the country, and anything beyond the allowance is subject to duties.
It’s unclear how this restriction can be enforced or monitored, but just in case, be sure to wear all your articles of clothing at least once before touching down on Malaysian soil.
8. Musical instruments, New Zealand
New Zealand clearly has way too many pesky musical instruments to deal with. There is no outright ban on travelers bringing their tune makers into the country, but they absolutely must not be left behind.
Bad news for those trying to "accidentally" lose the flute your floppy-haired hostel buddy bought you to remember him forever.
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9. Ceramic tableware, United States
There is no explicit prohibition on ceramic tableware, but U.S. Customs encourages American citizens to test ceramic goods bought abroad for levels of lead, especially from Mexico, China, Hong Kong, and India.
So those who always travel with a handy lead-testing kit, you're good. Otherwise, be sure to use your ceramic tableware only for decorative purposes.
10. Chewing gum, Singapore
The ban on chewing gum in Singapore is well known. Nevertheless, it’s always good to remind people again that this actually isn’t an urban myth.
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Article first published November 2011, updated July 2012