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  1. #1


    Slow Traveler

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    Logan, Utah, USA
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    I keep hearing mixed messages. Most people seem to say that it is legal to bring truffles back into the U.S.

    But my local Italian grocer -- who visits every year and imports them -- says it's absolutelty illegal and the fines are huge. I do trust that he's not just trying to scam me to buy his. That's not to think that he's not wrong, however.

    Does anyone know? Or, does anyone know where I can go to get the rules of the game?

    Thanks. We go in late November. We hope to bring extra suitcases!

    Cheers

  2. #2


    Slow Traveler

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Logan, Utah, USA
    Posts
    649
    I keep hearing mixed messages. Most people seem to say that it is legal to bring truffles back into the U.S.

    But my local Italian grocer -- who visits every year and imports them -- says it's absolutelty illegal and the fines are huge. I do trust that he's not just trying to scam me to buy his. That's not to think that he's not wrong, however.

    Does anyone know? Or, does anyone know where I can go to get the rules of the game?

    Thanks. We go in late November. We hope to bring extra suitcases!

    Cheers

  3. #3


    Slow Traveler

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Texas
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    2,920
    If it's not canned or in a jar, you will probably have it confiscated when you clear customs and immigration.

    I tried to clear customs in Vancouver, BC with an orange from the hotel (You clear US customs in Canada before you board the plane) and they me throw it away.

    You probably have NO chance with truffles.
    Bill

  4. #4


    Slow Traveler

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    Dec 2005
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    Northern Virginia, formerly Naples, Italy
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    670
    This page on the US Customs Service website includes truffles among the "general list of approved products". Make sure they are free of soil, and be sure to declare them. If they are taken away, well then you lose (and with that in mind, don't spend too much on them!), but it's better than being fined for trying to smuggle. Let's face it - no human, much less a sniffer hound, is going to miss that scent!

    You could also send a query to your local customs service, and get a reply in writing confirming whether or not you can bring them in, then you'd have documentation to back you up. If there's not time for that, I'd certainly advise that you print out that webpage and carry it with you.

    If nothing else, the bottled summer truffles (not as good as the real thing, I know), or the bottled truffle sauce (which are a mixture of regular mushrooms with about 10% summer truffle, not great, but decent, and better than nothing) should certainly be legal to bring in. Good luck!

    Edited to add: Fibonacci, that's sobering, especially since the website says that many items from Canada are permitted. Guess it all comes down to: it depends on who is checking that day.

  5. #5


    Slow Traveler

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    May 2006
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    Asti, Piedmont, Italy
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    I will echo Kim C in that US Customs site does say truffles are allowed, I would be careful to pack them, maybe in first a tissue and then cling film or a jar, and of course declare them as you would any excess bottles of wine. However one should keep in mind that as soon as truffles come out of the ground they start degenerating, the fresher the better. An interesting solution is to make a bottle of truffle oil (or buy one ready made),by shaving a truffle into a bottle of oil, keep it refrigerated and it will last for a reasonable time and add that dash of truffle aroma to whatever dish you want.
    Villa Sampaguita | www.facebook.com/Villa Sampaguita | [URL=http://www.slowtrav.com/italy/piedmont/tb_sacro_monte_di_crea.htm]Walking to Paradise in the Mo

  6. #6


    Slow Traveler

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    Winter Park, FL
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    My father, as an ex-Dept of Agriculture inspector, would definitely say NO you cannot bring them back.

    The reasoning is that you might bring some bacteria or disease (for plants) attached to it that is NOT here in the USA. You could handle it; touch another plant and now we have it here in the US.

    As much as we all want to bring them back, be sensible and understand WHY the law is in place. There has been many a pest and disease brought to the US by people doing this exact thing.

    There are many agriculturals that I would love to take back with me from Italy like seeds and so on but I won't do it as the risk is too great.
    Doug


  7. #7


    Slow Traveler

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    Asti, Piedmont, Italy
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    I don't want to argue with Doug's father, however out of curiosity I checked with the latest US Customs website (now Customs and Border Protection) and truffles are listed on the General list of approved products.Bringing Agricultural Products Into the United States .

    So I don't know what to make of this. Guests of ours have bought truffles home with them without consfication, I guess it would help to have the print-out of the web-page as well as maybe check before you leave. I don't think that you could bring bacteria into the country on a truffle which is actually a kind of fungus not really a plant and will be eaten subito. And to the best of my knowledge its virtually impossible to seed trufles, especially the white truffles famous in Piedmont (as well as Umbria, Marche, Tuscany, Slovenia and Crotia), people have tried and it hasn't worked. Are there truffles in USA which could be devastated by an attack of some awful virus carried on our precious tartufi? Actually I have heard of Tuber gibbosum, the so called Oregon white truffle, but I would think we would be more concerned over here with truffle diseases given the high price of white truffles in season. Remember phyloxefera, or for that matter odium or peronospera? (all 3 vine disorders were imported to Europe from American vineyards in the 1800's).

    But I digress and don't want to advocate breaking any laws, just thowing this out for debate.

    Cheers

    Tim
    Villa Sampaguita | www.facebook.com/Villa Sampaguita | [URL=http://www.slowtrav.com/italy/piedmont/tb_sacro_monte_di_crea.htm]Walking to Paradise in the Mo

  8. #8


    Slow Traveler

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    May 2005
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    Tim,

    I stand corrected as it appears the USDA and Customs will allow Truffles.

    I know a lot of other stuff is forbidden and the best rule of thumb is... check the list you posted. If it is not on there... no, no!

    Thanks Tim!!! Too bad I am in Southern Italy this time or else I might try to find them!
    Doug


  9. #9
    I would not make my own truffle oil. I live among truffle hunters and I could, but I don't.
    If you buy truffle oil, as I do, read the ingredients. The real thing says tartufi or aromi di tartufi. The fake says just aromi. They both taste good, though. It's more getting what you pay for to me.
    Some acquaintances of mine here have a truffle processing business and they do many good things. Read your labels. The ingredients are according to the % of finished product.

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