Family Fined $300 For Having Apple, Tomato, 3 Cucumbers In Backpack At Newark Liberty

Steinbergers Had Just Gotten Off Flight From Israel, Forgot About Kid's Snack

MONSEY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A family of four from Florida visiting relatives in New Jersey got an unwelcome surprise at the Customs gate — all because of some forgotten fruit and vegetables.

The oversight was an expensive one that has the family fuming, reports CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey.

“I don’t have to be traumatized like this. Nobody should have to be traumatized,” Suri Steinberger said.

Suri and Peter Steinberger are livid after what they call an over-reaction by customs agents at Newark Liberty Airport. They were told they had violated a federal crime — forgetting about an apple, a tomato and three cucumbers in their son’s backpack.

“For me it was like, you know, what you see on TV. I thought I was going to get handcuffed, they have my kids. So I just started to cry,” Suri Steinberger said.

The run-in with Customs agents happened Thursday at the end of a long trip from Israel. Suri packed the vegetables as snack for her boys.

“Let them eat it on the plane instead of eating garbage,” Suri said.

The problem was she didn’t sit with her husband and two boys on the flight and Peter didn’t know the produce was in the bag.

So when the declaration form came around, Peter said he “checked no on all the boxes.”

Customs officials told Hennessey strict rules are for “agricultural integrity” and that passengers have multiple opportunities to amend the Customs declaration form.

“I have no idea what they mean by that except for the fact they say you should have been looking at the posted signs,” Peter said.

While passengers were stunned at the strictness, others said it was par for the course.

“Other countries do it, too. They’re pretty strict. I travel a lot for work and I get the same thing,” said Christine Colella of North Brunswick, N.J.

Customs did say it’s up to the discretion of the officer to “destroy” the product or “fine the traveler,” discretion this family said was sorely missing given the Customs sheet showing the prohibited items and their $300 fine.

“You’re coming off a flight after 19 hours. You’re all flustered. You don’t know what world you’re on. The first thing on your mind isn’t vegetables in your backpack,” Peter said.

The family hopes what happened is a lesson to others that even an innocent mistake at customs may be a costly one.

The Steinbergers said they don’t expect to get their money back but do plan on taking the case with higher ups at customs.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

  • dghattierdc

    It is a serious problem to being in fruits and veggies that could carry pests, the feds could have just destroyed the stuff and said move along. Instead they fine.

    Since we are so good about keeping illegal vegigies out of the USA how bout the illegal immigrants? Dont they bring in diseases and cost us a huge amount of money taking care of their problems? How bout just deporting all of them, since we are so hard on veggies?

    Fair is Fair.

    • Thomas

      Answer–Veggies don’t vote.

      • Josh

        Obama – Biden 2008! Enough said….

      • Slam1263

        And criminal aliens don’t vote Republican.

    • Will the farmer

      The toughest part in cooking vegetables is getting the wheelchair in the oven.

    • Angry Aggie

      I see an attitude problem here. Ever hear the old adage, “ignorance of the law is no excuse? . By the way, the family is probably lying….In Israel, security asks everyone if they knew what was in their bags….If they said they didn’t know it was in their luggage they are full of it.
      To all the ignorant folks out their who wonder why the USDA and CBP sanction fines against morons like these…To teach the traveling public a lesson in protecting our valuable Agricultural and Natural Resources.
      I agree, 300.00 is a bit steep; but not compared to the hundreds of millions of dollars in potential damage a plant or animal disease can cost in lost trade revenue and eradication costs.
      So, if you insist on being an ignoramus, you’re better off not crossing borders.
      The traveling public must act in an intelligent and responsible manner. Stupidity Kills!

  • Tyrone

    The reason we have laws governing bring in vegetables is the threat to the food supply of new plant diseases and pests being introduced into the US. These people got exactly what they deserved.

    • Anthony Sood

      We have a serious problem in this country with over criminalization. There are more laws on the books now than anyone can keep track of, and can you tell me for sure you are not breaking a law even right this moment. Do you, or does anyone know all the laws on the books? I doubt it. Maybe someone should follow you around and fine you everytime you break a law. We need less criminalization in this country. By the way, I also would decriminalize drug abuse.

      • John

        All a passenger entering the U.S. has to do is READ the form you have to fill out. It is not that difficult

    • Bill in Tennessee

      And yet they don’t stop the bigger pests from streaming across the border from Mexico. Hmmm, amazing.

      • John not in Tennessee

        Ha. That coming from someone in Tennessee!

      • walljasper

        Haha! Good ‘un.

      • Big Mack

        Apparently, John Not in Tennessee has not attempted to read the numerous Spanish language billboards that adorn the shoulders of the highways in, and around, Nashville and Chattanooga.

    • k-dog

      As an ex-CBP Ag Officer passengers are given the opportunity to 1. Amend their customs declaration and 2. Given the opportunity have items destroyed prior to entry into US. It’s sounds like these passengers from Israel innocently forgot about the fruits and veggies, but possibly wanted to make a stand/statement against the government. This happens every day in airports and seaports and customs made the right decision. +1 US CBP Ag!

    • ron

      your an idiot

      • Sam

        “Ur an idiot .” Thats all three ways you can spell “UR”.

      • Jerry Gold

        It’s YOU’RE an idiot, Ron…so, you’re the idiot.
        (Hate when people don’t know proper syntax)

      • Tim P

        you’re an idiot…

    • A

      Tyrone is a plant. No normal person thinks this way. Pesticides exist in most of our domestic fruits and vegetables…no outcry or fining there even though it’s causing health and cancer epidemics on levels the world has never seen albeit plagues. This is big government and regulation at its worst. $300…another tax for government “revenues”.

  • Rachel 2

    You’re an idiot. Probably a lib that can’t afford to go anywhere cause you sit at home and wait for the gov’s money.

    • Rachel Leah

      Your a dooky-face!

    • kms

      Just for your information: Customs and Border Protections Agriculture Specialists are required to have a degree in agriculture related field.
      So much for the High School drop outs.
      If you do not understand the implications of introducing foreign pest and diseases perhaps you should educate yourself.

      • njconnie

        We can stop people from bring in food that may have pests. But we do nothing to stop illegals coming into our country and testing them for any diseases they may be bringing in. What hypocrites.

  • sudha

    agree. the way in which you react makes a big difference

    • UNREAL!

      Are you saying that these Jewish travelers misbehaved???????? UNREAL!

  • Bill Fisher

    Yet another failure and abuse by the DHS run Customs agency. Their total disregard for travelers is evidenced by TSA and their abuses and extends to every facet of DHS operations. Napolitano is a criminal and needs to be prosecuted for criminal malfeasance by the next Administration.

    They could have just as easily destroyed the fruit and allowed the family to proceed unimpeded. This was clearly a simple oversight with no criminal intent. Just another example of Government clerks taking the regulations to the extreme and abusing their authority. DHS needs to be dismantled.

    • Keisha

      NO ABUSE. They broke they law and were fined, plain and simple.

      • Bobby

        That’s right. The agents have to fine people at least a minimum amount wach day in order to pay their salaries. If they let everyone off without a fine, the country would go broke… Oh that’s right; the country is broke. How silly of me.

  • Ben

    It’s silly since millions of people infiltrate the USA every year through the land borders and by landing ships all along the coasts.

    • Eric Swinson

      yes but those people come here to pick our vegetables not to bring their own.

      • Me Myself

        Yeah, well some bring worse than veggies…

  • R Smith

    From Israel? There had to be an argument over the vegetables and fruit. This law prevents diseases from infecting American crops.

    • Fun_jumper


      • Mohawk

        mediterranean** FLIES** damn IPHONE…

      • Mohawk

        Really Fun Jumper cause mediterraining fruit flys don’t piggy back..

    • SockRayBlue

      Like Monsanto GM seeds only working with Monsanto pesticides? Sounds like Monsanto is building a closed or fixed customer base.

    • Cynthia

      Touche !

    • Joe C

      Well Said !!!!! I never could understand that. We import this bug to kill THAT bug and when that bug becomes an infestation, we import yet ANOTHER bug to kill THAT one. Aside from that, that’s why they are cracking down on dairy farmers and such are selling “natural” farm items…you know, stuff people have been eating for thousands of years with no ill effects? Why don’t they want someone to buy natural milk from an Amish farmer? Cuz there isn’t any of the garbage they add to it. Same goes for our seed manufacturers.

    • SpanishInquisition

      And what about all the chem trailing occurring all over this country ???

  • nam_vet6869

    If she did not sit with the Husband and boys why did she not just tell the husband the snakes were there. Every time you go into or out of any country you hjave the declaration form, as long as it is on that form, you may not bring it in but you are not in trouble either.

    • mdlr

      I hate snakes, specially on planes

      • Sty

        snaaaaakes … why did it have to be snakes?

    • Patrick

      They didn’t have snakes in their bag… it was fruits and vegetables.

  • MeFailEnglishThatsUnpossible

    Another example of quality journalism. “They were told they had violated a federal crime…” Seriously? Doesn’t anyone check this garbage before you publish it? Perhaps the crime beat was on vacation, and they had to ask people from the sports beat to fill in. This whole report reads like a “What I did on my summer vacation” paper written by a high school football player.

    • ericfromnewyork

      Besides the bad English, the word “crime” is completely inappropriate for this trivial misdemeanor, and trivial fine. This is only getting play because of the justifiable upset with TSA, but Customs is a different outfit entirely.
      There is a problem with way too many federal violations actually being “crimes,” But this is just a stupid article. On par with: “man runs stop sign, claims to police he ‘didn’t see it.”

  • Scunnerous

    What is it with those commenters and their “do the crime – pay the fine” attitude? The custom agent is ALLOWED to confiscate and destroy which is what happened to us once when my daughter of 3 had a half-eaten apple, which she was still eating. The regulation makes sense but the manner of application, with the $300. fine, is absurd. I’m sick to death of the insolence from little bullies that we have to put up with just to travel by air now. If nobody protests about this, they’ll just get worse – creeping ever-increasing intrusions into our lives.

    • George

      Two years ago I was flying from Shanghai to Miami and the flight was delayed 12 hours. They gave us apples in the airport. i put mine in my carry on. Fell asleep on the plane. Upon Arrival in Miami they had the drug dogs search us. I laughed so hard until the dog came for me. I opened my bag and there was the apple. I had no idea the apple were considered contraband. They took me into another room and searched all my bags. I was in China for a month and had a lot of souvenirs. Eventually they let me go and would not let me eat the apple. I had no idea I could have been fined

    • sw2

      Bully? It sounds like they used discretion and let you go. What’s your complaint? These people probably argued why they should keep the fruit and got fined for it.

      • Mike Lee

        So the 300.00 fine they paid kept the bugs from crawling off the fruit, traveling to where ever it came from and infecting what ever kind of tree or bush it was? How does letting you keep the infected fruit and paying a fine protect us?

      • Larry

        What kind of sick and twisted mindset is that? “Used discretion and let you go”?

        Let’s all be thankful that the almighty federal agent showed us mercy and let us go when we violated the holy federal law!

  • Elizabeth Brown

    What we all must remember is that harmful insects, with no natural enemies have been transported innocently into our country and have wreaked havoc on our crops and forests and even water ways.. There are reasons why there are strict laws about bringing fresh produce into our country.

    • Demsvoteblindly

      They could have just confiscated it….

  • randimbaserd

    didn’t know what world their in? how about the real world!

  • Marilyn

    When I worked on the Mexican Border, we never fined people for something this insignificant. We just confiscated it and it was picked up later by someone from the Mexican Orphanage in Tijuana. Now, 50 pounds of pork was another thing, especially if it was hidden. That’s worth a fine.

  • Tom Davidson

    If you want to bring vermin in to the US, then the government says you’ll have to do it at the Mexican border.

  • Karen Jones

    There is a lot of infestation in D.C. It’s about money and they are getting where-ever they can.

  • kickk

    How do you spell indiscretion – government!!

  • Dahlia Balir

    I am a gardener and a frequent flier. This isn’t about the dangers of introducing foreign pests. It’s about the lack of discretion of a customs officer. They could have simply destroyed the fruit. As another commenter pointed out, these people were not smugglers or repeat offenders. If you weren’t there you don’t know how they behaved; don’t assume the family reacted with a “hissyfit.”

    • sw2

      Good point. You’re a gardener and frequent flier so you can clearly tell from this article that it had nothing to do with foreign pests. You say not to assume the family reacted poorly…just after you assume the customs officer didn’t use discretion. Brilliant logic. Did you use your gardener deduction skills for that one too?

    • Mohawk

      What SW2 Said….

  • Black Eagle

    Probably a Jew-hating custom’s officer. But really, thank you Prez Clinton for imposing these new custom’s laws as revenge because Europe blocked importation of American GMO crops and hormone-laden beef products. We have too many fat and overpaid bullies running the government.

  • B Dixon

    That California agricultural station has its roots in the great depression and the dust bowl.. They were set up to keep Okies out of California First they sent Los Angleles police to the border to turn back refugees from Oklahoma but that was illegal so they put state agricultural agents on the job to put a stamp of legality to it. Like all government institutions they never ended the operation even when the need for it was gone.

  • Bruce

    This has nothing to do with the TSA, read the article then open your mouth.

  • Marvin

    We fly as a family internationally all the time. We are used to things that are or are not allowed. Part of the trip is getting through security to board, the rest is focused on getting off and through customs and imigration. Could there possibly be more to the reason the inspector took such a harsh position?

  • Louis Emery

    How about a food irradiator at airports and at ports? Irradiation will kill bugs, bacteria, fungus (read the wiki on this subject). There’s already many types of X-ray machines at the airports, though an irradiator is much more powerful. Thus travelers can bring any food they want across borders. The food flavor, texture and nutritional value is unchanged.

    I once had a airline-provided ham sandwich confiscated when entering US at ORD. It was hard to imagine what kind of pest I was introducing to U.S. or (perhaps more likely) financial hardship to local ham-producers I was causing.

    • AS

      potential for classical swine fever, most likely, depends on where the meat came from, a few other possibilities. How many times in between flights have I ever wondered what it would be like if we had a major epidemic outbreak. Agriculture Specialist.

    • nobama2012

      Why not just pack only what you intend to eat and throw out the excess. Why make it so complicated? KISS

  • Sage

    The fine is harsh, but this is just a matter of common sense. Mrs. Steinberger should have known that there are restrictions about bringing produce into the United States. I packed fresh fruit for a long flight to Hawaii. There were announcements on the airplane and there were warnings at the gate when we arrived and trash cans were provided for everyone who forgot they had produce in their carry-on bags. It was Mrs. Steinberger’s responsibility to toss those items. She was the one who packed the produce.


      Simply said, she thought she could get away with it simply bc….

  • Mike McLurg

    How to win friends and influence more tourists….

  • roger angles

    That comment coming from a guy who lives in country that has spurned two world wars and murdered countless millions… to say the least a cheap shot.
    I guess it is a matter a time before our boys scounts turn to secret police and all is lost. As I remember some of your elected officals weren’t so bright either. I will agree with you that the decline in my country is bad and our elected officals are a joke…..but we are not rioting and burning cars every night because we don’t have anything better to do. I guess since we finished rebuilding Germany we have lost our way.

  • kpryan

    Oh well. At least we are safe from all the terrorists who want to kill us because they are jealous of all our Liberties.

    I can’t wait until the govt puts CCTV cameras inside our homes and at all the doors and windows so they know when we come and go and what we do in our abodes. That too will make us safe from the hoards of muslim terrorists who just hate all our freedoms and want to kill us because they don’t want us to be free.

    What we really need, though, is 1 HomeSecurityOfficer per American. Then we won’t have any more terror. The Officer is required to watch you (and my officer to watch me) 24 hours a day and report back to headquarters exactly what we are doing at all times. That will really save us from the evil people who hate our Constitution.

    • Chili

      Whew! At least we’re safe from another terrorist tomato that hates our freedom.

      “I can’t wait until the govt puts CCTV cameras inside our homes.”
      That’s what Smart Meters are for. The utility companies want to strap one on every house in the U.S. U.K. No video (yet) but it will spy on everything happening in you’re home or apartment……besides irradiate you 24 hours a day.

    • JJStryder

      That’s the beauty of it. There are more of us than them. The many ruled by the few. You must believe this to stay under control. But they really could never have complete control. Ever. That is the genius of natural law. Men try, but they never are able to have complete control over the human spirit. The founders knew this. Showed how men could rule themselves. That is our weakness and our strength at this moment in history.

  • Susan See

    I live close to the Canadian border and often shop at their superstore over there. There’s nothing like watching the customs officer, when coming back from the store, dumping all your oranges lemons and ground beef into a trash can. I know we need to monitor produce, etc. because I lived in CA during the medfly invasion and we were stopped on the highway and screened for any fruit we might be carrying. That agricultural crisis tells you what can happen if we aren’t vigilant. If you want to see strict, try going into Australia with anything banned. They scare the pants off you.

  • lairdkeir

    “Other countries do it, too. They’re pretty strict.” Which countries? Saudi Arabia? Pakistan? China? All America’s new-found friends and allies? Thank God I live in Germany, a country that knows all too well the dangers inherit in a state where those with power over everyone else overstep their mandate to trample on the happiness, well-being and livelihood of the common man. The state looks after its people whilst allowing them to live as they see fit without undue interference. The US however seems more and more to be following a fascist route; as its influence diminishes around the world, it seeks to enforce its dominance upon its own people. There doesn’t appear to be any hope given the general decline in its education system and completely ignorant, unqualified people who run for office and are given headlines due to notoriety rather than experience and ability. What a dystopia the US has become, and we in Europe, grateful for the US of three generations ago, can only shake our heads and bemoan the loss of a former model and friend.

    • Joe C

      I disagree with the later post. Sounds like you know what’s going here more then many of the people that were BORN here. They’ll just mock you and then go stick their heads back into the sand and pretend we aren’t on a destructive tyrannical path…

    • USA

      I live is the USA 50 years now. USA has changed in just that little bit of time from GREAT place to live to a WORSE place to live. It is getting worse and worse and who knows where it will end up.

      I feel so bad about it all since I love my country. sad but true.

    • greg

      Wow, ease up man. I’m glad you live in Germany. My ansestors immigrated here 3 generations ago from there. Guess they were looking for something better. We can not always have it our way with politicians and governments. You above all sbould know that. But we deal with it because we have to, eh?

    • Auric Maston

      Honestly everything you said about the U.S. and this administration’s fondness for Communist despotic regimes like China and Islamists like the others you mentioned. And the troublesome trends and the sort of armchair psychoanalysis of the American frame of mind, all true.

      Now, separate from that, I’d say that you’re overlooking that as a German citizen you’re also in the E.U. and I do believe that means that all your food is generally cleared for all of the E.U. It’s like a eurorail pass. Stuff moves around inside from country to country and it’s almost like state-to-state here in the U.S.

      My two cents.

  • greg

    You guys still don’t get it. It’s all about bugs. That’s why there are inspection stations when you enter California and Arizona. Some idiot brings a peach with fruit flies and the whole state crop goes to hell. Now we have Japanese Beetles, Gypsy Moths, Stink Bugs, you name it. These creatures were all imported by someone who wasn’t paying attention or didn’t know any better. This is exactly why we have customs and Agriculture inspection stations. Have you ever tried to grow food? Do you like going hungry or paying ridiculous prices at the grocery store? I have to agree with the majority of the posts here. Figure it out, pay attention, respect our soveriegnity, or stay the hell out!

    • Grace

      Greg, you have to be kidding me. All if these illegals sneaking in and bringing every “bug” and disease in the world and that’s OK with you. But fine the heck out of American citizens who make a mistake with a snack in their backpack. It’s not about bugs, it is about humiliating people whenever you get the chance. It is about breaking the American spirit every chance the government sees available to do so. Don’t comfort yourself with the “official line.”

    • LarryG

      Yeah. You have Mexicans, too, and they are a far worse threat than produce blight.

      • Larry you're a racist idiot!

        Larry you’re a racist idiot!

  • roger Angles

    I travel with military all over the world and our aircraft / baggage getted thoughly checked. If we are not in complaince they fine our aircraft commander….it can be as high as $10,000.00 for the aircraft. It is everyones responsibilty to insure that the foods/fruits are bagged prior to landing for disposal. The fine they got is mild…..went through China recently…..they don’t believe in PC and they don’t have problems with people breaking their rules. If we quit catering to every cry baby that comes along we could get the country back on track……besides the steinbergers probably saved that much by not buying the airline food. After about 15 hours of 19 hour flight no one got hungry? What did they eat if they packed the veggies to avoid the “garbage” the airlines served? Shut up and pay your fine.

    • Grace

      What a buch of hooey! Play right into their hands and grovel while the Illegals are just waltzing in with all of the “bugs” and diseases in the world. WHAT A JOKE!

    • Susan See

      Just a note to tell you the explanation is in the text as to why they didn’t eat it.

      • Sactalerian

        So in 19 hours she couldn’t get up and get the veggies for her kids to eat?

  • iggy

    if you are flying and have an unopened bottle of water before the gates, they just take it away from you. why didn’t the TSA just take the food and warn them for the next time they fly? why did the judge fine them? couldn’t they have just been reprimanded?

    • Diane Emmerich

      To all the idiots that are blaming the TSA (and I am no fan of the TSA), it was US customs that fined these cry babies. I have no doubt that they put up a big whiney drama scene at customs and so the customs agent opted for a fine instead of just destroying the stuff and leting it go at that. I work in the airline industry and have heard enough whiney “nobody told me” or “I didn’t know”s to make your head explode. They were warned and advised. They were stupid, end of story.


        thank you Diane, I couldn’t have said it any better.

    • Auric Maston

      because a bottle of water obtained in the US is bottled water that the US gov’t says ‘hey, it’s water; thats’s no big deal’. But if it were the same thing coming into the country instead of moving around in it, it would necessitate higher scrutiny presumably and it might get treated the same as these people’s vegetables.

  • anikonov

    I did not know that Florida is no longer in the US union!

    I guess it is the way how New Jersey is protecting its own market for produce…

  • ken

    They came from the middle east, who knows what they could of been bringing in on their fruit, They should of stayed there, no one is above the law, regardless who they are.

  • JoeyCiantasy

    Wow You really want to make it a case of anti semitism! I reread this article a couple of times in an attempt to find that claim! You jewish?

    • JJStryder

      So you missed the whole vegetable fine thing?

  • ProFromDover

    Customs should have confiscated and destroyed the contraband, end of story. When my sister and I returned from Rome 25 years ago with some killer Panini from Rome (and unaware it was a no-no) the Customs folks merely mildly chastised us, told us we should have consumed them on the plane, confiscated them and that was that. This generation of officials are morons who need to get out more…

    • Sactalerian

      Yes, they confiscated it and that was that. It also happened to me once, “and that was that”. But with this people its obvious that that wasn’t that. They more than likely threw a hissy-fit and that’s why they got fined.

      I mean, look we are reading about it in the news, how do you think that came about? They obviously weren’t done with their hissy-fit and called the news.

      Read the last paragraph, it says they’ll continue with their hissy-fit and contact the “higher-ups” at customs.

      • JJStryder


    • JJStryder

      “So you should have eaten them on the plane?”. So that doesn’t bother you? Do you see the level of acceptance we have for this?

  • Jim

    Too bad, they should have packed a lawyer in there as well. Seems with all the BS the air industry and government is coming up with these days, a person should hire their own attorney to travel with them wherever they fly! When did we stop thInking for ourselves and allow common sense to die? I guess right after personal responsibility died, it’s sister, common sense was the next to go!!

    • JJStryder

      Now what?

  • B. Hans

    When i travelled to Taiwan, I had eaten all my fruit but, out of habit, stuck my apple core in the plastic sandwich bag the apple had been in. and then forgot about it. While awaiting my luggage, a Taiwanese police woman asked very politely is she could look in my carry on bag because her little beagle was trying to hump it. She found my apple core and just said that she had to dispose of it. Then she praised her dog and gave it a dog bone award. She praised in in English so as to not be so impolite as to leave me out of the conversation.

    • JJStryder

      Nice of her wasn’t it?

  • Paula W

    And we have a $200.00 fine.
    And people jump up and down throwing fits over this also.
    If you do the crime, then do the time…

    Do you know how many peole say….’oh I forgot’
    Just like people who drive without a seat-belt..’Oh I forgot, please do NOT fine me’
    I am SO innocent

    • Martha

      If they forgot, then they are somewhat innocent. What is your point?

    • JJStryder

      Too bad we couldn’t get this level of security at our own southern border. Are you that strident when it comes to illegal immigration? Just asking!

  • Paula W

    Time to grow up and get a life, and stop throwing the toys out of the cot.
    You wold NOT be allowed into New Zealand with food produce either, and there are sign up everywhere explaing why we have a green clean country to protect.
    For those who REFUSE to obey the rules then do not travel.
    If you cannot rerspect another countries rules and regulations to protect its citizens and safety of its much sort after produce, then do not come here, we do not want you.

    • JJStryder

      You have many good points. But Come on! A $300.00 fine? You don’t find that troubling?
      P.S. “Toys out of the cot.” haven’t heard that before. What the hell does it mean?

  • Annoyed

    Are these people career veggie smugglers? $300 is over the top.

    They have every right to be angry, p*ssed off, highly upset. But “traumatized”? Get a grip, folks.

  • abominable

    The law is there to protect all of us. Whenever one comes back from overseas, the ban on fruits , vegetables, meats and cheese are there on the custom form. It is their responsibilities to check all their carry ons for contrabands. If they were careless, they had to take responsibilities for their own action. There were not singled out because they were Jewish. They were fined for infraction of the law, over and out.



  • liz

    so anyone can forget about anything were all human-why should they get such a large fine for an honest mistake!?

  • Nicole

    Diseases and pests can be carried in produce causing millions of dollars in damage to American farmers. People think they know better. People are stupid. We’ve got problems now in the states because people bring in animals and vegetables that shouldn’t be here. Enter the kudzu vine in the south or the flying fish in the great lakes. Better yet, ask someone in Florida about the big snakes they have because exotic pet owners thought their “pets” were too big for their homes.

    • aubreyfarmer

      For the first time I am seeing the Chinese stink bugs and they have destroyed every piece of fruit on my pear, peach and plum trees. I read that they were released accidentally. By who? And what was done about it? Why were these pests brought to the US in the first place? You can bet it wasn’t an individual but some big agriculture corporation. You or I get nailed to the wall for minor mistakes, but big business can turn our whole world up side down and not face any criminal prosecution. How many hundreds of millions of dollars in damage will be done by the stink bugs. Who reimburses me for all of the damage? No one, that’s who.

  • angel

    What happens if you get low blood sugar, or your diabetic ?

    • pitbullzandhandgrenades

      What happens if it was an A and B conversation? You should C your way out of it!!!

      • mathgenius

        What happens if I can’t do math?

    • Frank

      What happens if you can’t determine the difference between your and you’re?

      • dismissive boor

        What happens if you’re anal retentive about another’s English usage while avoiding his question?

  • bodog

    Give ’em the chair!

  • Takb

    American is now POOR. Customs will have to make money so that they could get paid on time. Same thing with parking tickets to run the government in New York. ZERO tolerance otherwise; do not expect next pay check. Alas this country would not have gone for Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    • Diane Emmerich

      Your post is illogical and stupid. what does Iraq and Afghanistan have to do with bringing potentially harmful pests, bacteria or fungi into the US that could harm our agriculture? DUH

  • US_Traveler

    Sometimes they give apples as part of veggie diet airline food.
    Are these also prohibeted entry?
    Even in pre 9/11 time US ICE
    (then called Customs and INS) was the most barbaric in the western world. Now ICe is completely out of control and of common sense.

    • Keisha

      That is an idiotic question.

      • jeff

        Serves ’em right. They should be locked up and water boarded. How they they disrespect the TSA rules.

  • Jenny Lee

    mary lou, there is nothing anti semitic when it’s about complying with the Law. everyone for years received the same treatment even when they did it without understanding it’s illegal, yet they had to pay the fine and had their produces detained and detroyed and didn’t go to complain to a News channel, why should the Steinbergers receive preferential treatment? Customs have this written to prevent bugs and infections to be introduced by fruits or vegetables in the U.S. for your and my health benefit. their long flight and having kids doesn’t make them an exception of complying with the law.

    • Takb

      I still think that it was over-reaction by the customs. The family was carrying it for personal consumption and surely not going to affect any ones health.

  • Kiss Freedom Goodbye

    Since we do not live in a free country any longer, and the USA now resembles the USSR more than anything, I am surprised they weren’t sent to the gulag.

    • Sage

      You can’t be serious. Don’t you know anything about agriculture and pest control? This has nothing to do with your freedom, Einstein.

  • mary lou

    I think that this is an outrage and these customs agents should apologize for their anti semitic behaviors.

    • Diane Emmerich

      When logic fails you, just bring out the race card

      • Mohawk

        Exactly, RACE CARD the ACE IN THE HOLE!!! ;-/

    • Sue in soCal

      I did not realize that confiscating contraband produce was anti-semitic. I do think the fine was over the top.

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