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$300 apple and loss of Nexus pass!!

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Old Jun 17, 11, 5:16 pm
  #1
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Unhappy $300 apple and loss of Nexus pass!!

Crossing US customs at YYZ today I was fined $300 and forfeiture of my Nexus pass!

After attending a conference, I was provided a bag lunch for the trip home. I slept during the 2 hour ride from the conference resort to the airport. I was groggy from the sleep and it slipped my mind that I should have checked the contents of the lunch bag. Crossing the border is second nature to me as I have been doing this on a weekly basis for the last 11 years. When I approached the customs person with the lunch bag in hand, and he asked me of the contents, I knew I was in trouble.

To make a long story short, a single apple in the bagged lunch resulted in the $300 fine and loss of the Nexus pass. I admit I'm totally at fault but I never fathomed that the penalties would be so harsh. The monetary fine is not a big deal but the loss of the Nexus pass is a huge inconvenience as I cross the border on a weekly basis.

Have others found the US customs to be so rigid in applicaton of the rules?
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Old Jun 17, 11, 5:22 pm
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Yes, almost every time I take a bus across the US border, the driver gives dire warnings about fruit being found.

For example, if you have 8 cherries, that's a $2400 fine.

Lucky you didn't have cherries or blueberries, I suppose.
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Old Jun 17, 11, 6:59 pm
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I guess we were a tad more fortunate. We bought groceries in Lubec, Maine before heading over to Campobello Island, NB/Roosevelt Interational Park. In the groceries was a bag of State of Maine Apples, among other potential contraband. No issue crossing into New Brunswick, a day of touring the island, and watching the tides. Coming home, to Lubec, we were inspected, the apples discovered, and we got a lecture, were allowed to keep our apples and illicit American groceries, went home had a nice meal.

I am sure the statute of limitation on screwing the fair and honest customs agent has fully run, so I don't think I'll get him into too much trouble for having a head, common sense, and reason.

Confiscating an apple, reasonable with a bad boy lecture pressing the matter. Fines and confiscation of a pass is just plain bad behavior. I wish I could apologize for my government, but I do not wish to jeopardize my standing should I wish to apply for landed immigrant status in the country to the north.
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Old Jun 17, 11, 7:15 pm
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Years ago, a friend and I were driving from Oregon to British Columbia. It was late in the summer; all kinds of local fruits were in season in Washington and my friend bought some every time we stopped.

When we arrived at the border, she had eaten all of it except one peach. The Canadian inspector asked if we had any fruit, and my friend was furious with me for admitting that we did. But the real problem was that, having admitted to possession of a Yakima peach, we couldn't find it in the car.
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Old Jun 17, 11, 7:45 pm
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This is disgusting, especially given that the CBP agent who did my NEXUS interview expressly said that apples from Canada were fine - That it was fruit not grown in Canada commercially (like Oranges and Mangoes) that could bring unshared diseases into the US that were the problem. Indeed, its entirely possible that the apple you had came from Washington. I would file an appeal
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Old Jun 17, 11, 8:02 pm
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Happened to my 90 year old non-english speaking grandmother coming over from Europe. She had forgotten about one apple in her purse. Cost her $100+. For her that is a lot of money, and soured her vacation.
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Old Jun 17, 11, 8:27 pm
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Originally Posted by YVR_YYC View Post
Crossing US customs at YYZ today I was fined $300 and forfeiture of my Nexus pass!

After attending a conference, I was provided a bag lunch for the trip home. I slept during the 2 hour ride from the conference resort to the airport. I was groggy from the sleep and it slipped my mind that I should have checked the contents of the lunch bag. Crossing the border is second nature to me as I have been doing this on a weekly basis for the last 11 years. When I approached the customs person with the lunch bag in hand, and he asked me of the contents, I knew I was in trouble.

To make a long story short, a single apple in the bagged lunch resulted in the $300 fine and loss of the Nexus pass. I admit I'm totally at fault but I never fathomed that the penalties would be so harsh. The monetary fine is not a big deal but the loss of the Nexus pass is a huge inconvenience as I cross the border on a weekly basis.

Have others found the US customs to be so rigid in applicaton of the rules?
IMHO some YYZ CBP could be quite difficult. Sounds like you got picked on because you are carrying a lunch bag, to the CBP it means food, time to scroe some brownie points.

Sad that you last your Nexus privilege, that is going to hurt more than the fine. This is the letter of the Nexus condition.
Not to scare you but your passport might be redflagged due to the offence and you might encounter more secondary due to this record.
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Old Jun 17, 11, 9:22 pm
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Yikes! That sounds really bad.

It would seem that there is a lot of conflicting information being given out by the various people that administer the NEXUS program, including the comment about Canadian apples, above. Inconsistency at best!

What about apples, bananas, etc. from the MLL at YYZ? Those are OK?
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Old Jun 17, 11, 10:01 pm
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Old Jun 17, 11, 10:23 pm
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This is completely pointless and nothing but bordering on terroristic by customs. If it's a fruit, why not have a trash can there to put these oh-so-dangerous things into if someone forgets to throw it away before reaching the checkpoint!? IS IT REALLY THAT HARD!? Pressing a fine and punishment is nothing more than doing something simply because they have the power to do so and anyone who whines is put on a list and subject to even more crap!
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Old Jun 17, 11, 10:37 pm
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Originally Posted by TheOneTheOnly View Post
This is completely pointless and nothing but bordering on terroristic by customs. If it's a fruit, why not have a trash can there to put these oh-so-dangerous things into if someone forgets to throw it away before reaching the checkpoint!? IS IT REALLY THAT HARD!? Pressing a fine and punishment is nothing more than doing something simply because they have the power to do so and anyone who whines is put on a list and subject to even more crap!
Is it really that hard to think about the questions on the declaration form before answering them?
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Old Jun 17, 11, 10:43 pm
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Originally Posted by TheOneTheOnly View Post
This is completely pointless and nothing but bordering on terroristic by customs. If it's a fruit, why not have a trash can there to put these oh-so-dangerous things into if someone forgets to throw it away before reaching the checkpoint!? IS IT REALLY THAT HARD!?...
There is a trash can at YYZ (both T3 and T1, at least). The problem is the OP forgot (or didn't know) to throw it in the trash prior to inspection. Once inspection starts and you don't declare the item, then it incurs penalties if found. Otherwise all smugglers would "forget" The penalty could have been even harsher, fwiw ... most people don't realize what penalties they are facing for what they consider to be tirivial or non-offences. My own experience with the system is that it is fair though sometimes arbitrary, often without apparent reason, and often inconvenient. Hardly bordering on terroristic, ymmv.
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Old Jun 17, 11, 11:13 pm
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I had four Canadian apples in a bag in my checked luggage which I didn't declare. I was going to be in transit in the US to an overseas destination and had no intention of taking the apples out, so didn't think that qualified as bringing fruit into the US.

When I got to the immigration booth, the agent asked if I had fruit and I readily told him I did. So I quickly found out that bringing fruit in is bringing fruit in, whether you leave it in the US or not. Got a lecture and the threat of a fine (and had to leave the apples behind), but that was it. Was also told that if the apples have stickers on them, they're okay but still have to be declared.
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Old Jun 17, 11, 11:22 pm
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Since my carry-on has a collection of cookies and such from various airport lounges in the US, I've made a habit of just declaring YES on the food question because I can't remember what's there and what's gone...at least the Canadian side doesn't ask about "Food", but rather breaks the question down into items which are actually problematic, like meat, fruit, vegetables, etc.

CBP *really* needs to update that question on the form and not get so uppity about boxed candies, cookies, etc.

I will admit to buying Chinese buns in Toronto that contain sausage, cheese and other meats and declaring them as "pastries", but I won't do that anymore since I have Nexus....if they find a sausage, I'm in bigger trouble than if they found it during a routine check in the regular line.

I wonder if there is an appeal option for the OP...it wasn't like they were trying to conceal it...it was an honest mistake.
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Old Jun 17, 11, 11:59 pm
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
Since my carry-on has a collection of cookies and such from various airport lounges in the US, I've made a habit of just declaring YES on the food question because I can't remember what's there and what's gone...at least the Canadian side doesn't ask about "Food", but rather breaks the question down into items which are actually problematic, like meat, fruit, vegetables, etc.
Some on the Canadian side will still give you a hard time with food items that cannot be logically grouped into any of the categories on the form and for which no importation restriction exists: "I could fine you $800 for not declaring this box of biscuits!" Um, no.

Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
I will admit to buying Chinese buns in Toronto
When you say Toronto, I hope you're talking about Scarborough or the suburbs, and not any of the places downtown.

Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
I wonder if there is an appeal option for the OP...it wasn't like they were trying to conceal it...it was an honest mistake.
It couldn't hurt to write the local Nexus enrolment centre.
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