Since the summer travel season is in full swing and it’s a popular time of year to travel to Hawaii, here are some tips to ensure you comply with certain laws of what you can bring to and from Hawaii:
What NOT to Bring to/from Hawaii:
One thing that first time visitors to Hawaii may not know is that there are strict agriculture rules. Here is an except from the United States Department of Agriculture regarding visits to and from the mainland USA . More information can be found at www.CanIBringIt.com:
Bringing food, plants, animals, and other agricultural items with you on your travels may seem harmless, but without knowing it, you could also bring along a dangerous stowaway—an invasive pest or disease. Just one piece of fruit or a single plant that harbors an invasive pest or disease could cause millions of dollars in damage, expensive eradication efforts, lost trade revenue, and higher food prices.
To keep invasive pests out of the country, the United States has laws that prohibit or restrict the entry of certain agricultural products from other countries, including meats, fruits, vegetables, plants, soil, seeds, and some plant-based handicrafts, among other items.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has partnered with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the California Department of Agriculture to educate travelers who are either visiting or returning to the United States with food and agricultural items. The “Can I Bring It?” campaign aims to reach U.S. residents and foreign visitors coming from China, Mexico, and Hawaii into the continental United States through California ports of entry. These busy travel markets are among the highest risk pathways for invasive pests to enter the country. The campaign educates travelers about the simple steps they can take to protect U.S. agriculture and the environment. CanIBringIt.com is designed to help travelers quickly see whether or not the item they wish to bring into the United States is allowed under USDA guidelines. It also offers links to other resources that help travelers understand and comply with USDA regulations.
Did You Know?
- An estimated 50,000 species of plants and animals have invaded the United States due to international travel, human population growth, the rapid movement of people and goods, and global trade.
- These invasive species can displace native species and often spread unchecked because they have few or no natural predators.
- Each year, insects destroy about 13 percent of U.S. crop production worth about $33 billion.
- It’s estimated that invasive species cost the United States $120 billion a year due to losses, damage, and control costs.
Experts estimate that nearly 50,000 invasive plant and animal species have invaded the country. With continued increases in international travel and trade, this number grows each year as more and more people unknowingly move invasive pests along with the goods and things they ship, mail, or carry. These pests destroy approximately 13 percent of U.S. crop production a year and cost the United States an estimated $120 billion in crop losses, damages, and control costs.
The “Can I Bring It?” campaign aims to reach U.S. residents and foreign visitors coming from China and Mexico into the continental United States through California ports of entry and from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland. These busy travel markets are amongst the highest-risk pathways for invasive pests to enter the country. The campaign will educate travelers about the three simple steps everyone can take to protect U.S. agriculture and the environment:
- Look up items you wish to bring using the new Can I Bring It website to see whether they are allowed.
- If you can’t find an item or still have questions, contact APHIS.
- Declare all agricultural items to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer or agriculture specialist at the port of entry, or in Hawaii, to a USDA official in the USDA pre-departure area of the airport. This is the most important step. Even if the website says an item is allowed, it must still be inspected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection or USDA to make sure it is free of potentially devastating pests and diseases.
Remember to Declare!
The list of items allowed to enter the U.S. mainland is subject to change. Even if an item is allowed, you must declare it and any other food, plants, live animals, or plant or animal products to a USDA official in the USDA pre-departure inspection area of the airport. Travelers who fail to declare food and agricultural items will experience travel delays and could receive a penalty of up to $1,000.
What you CAN bring from Hawaii to the Mainland:
Below is a partial list of fruits and vegetables, cut flowers, animal products, and other items that you can generally bring to the U.S. mainland from Hawaii, however, they most likely must be properly treated first. To find out what else you can bring from Hawaii, please visit www.CanIBringIt.com.
Allowed Fruits and Vegetables
Coconut or Pineapple, or treated fruit, such as papaya, abiu, atemoya, banana, curry leaf, and lychee
Allowed Cut Flowers
Fresh flowers and leis (except any citrus or citrus-related flowers, leaves, or other plant parts, as well as jade vine or Mauna Loa)
Allowed Other Items
Rocks and stones
Wood (including driftwood and sticks)
Wishing everyone a safe summer travel season! Aloha!