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Global Entry Kiosks Declarations and Food Questions

Global Entry Kiosks Declarations and Food Questions

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Old Sep 14, 19, 4:37 am   -   Wikipost
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Global Entry kiosks typically ask a yes/no question about whether you are bringing "food" into the country. The question is broader than on the deprecated blue form that asked about fruits, vegetables, meats, etc.

CBP answers the question of whether you must declare all "food" on its website:

Must I declare food items or products when using the Global entry kiosk?

Yes, all food items and products must be declared when entering the U.S.

You may be able to bring in food such as fruits, meats or other agricultural products depending on the region or country from which you are traveling.
General consensus is that the best practice is to declare any "food", include candies, cookies, snacks, etc. and then inform the CBP agent about your food. Experience has been that in nearly all cases the agent will wave you through with extremely minimal delay. As explained elsewhere, the primary focus of the question is to prevent importation of fruits, vegetable, and meats that could cause harm to the American food supply, but it is safest to allow the CBP agent to make the determination.

There is some debate as to whether items one can ingest for non-nutritive reasons (e.g., gum, toothpaste, medicine) should qualify as food. There does not appear to be an answer from CBP or experience showing the proper categorization of such items.
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Old Aug 20, 18, 2:06 pm
  #826  
 
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Coming through PHL last month with chocolate and a lot of wine (over the limit on that), I checked yes on the food box. There was no one in secondary and they waved me on through when I didn't have clothes, watches, etc, while the regular customs line was backed up with no separate line for GE, so secondary was faster than not declaring it.
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Old Aug 20, 18, 11:42 pm
  #827  
 
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Originally Posted by rickg523 View Post
If you're GE, always answer yes. It takes two minutes more to tell the secondary agent about the chewing gum or breath mints or chocolate chip cookie you didn't eat on the plane. Even if they scan your bag, it takes less than five minutes total.
The general answer I have gotten from CBP agents is if you can put in your mouth, consider it "food."
I guess that means medicines are food? Is toothpaste/mouthwash food? If chewing gum is "food" I don't see why toothpaste isn't.
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Old Aug 21, 18, 12:05 pm
  #828  
 
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The CBP officer's definition of food does leave open to interpretation all kinds of items that would generally not be considered food.

My take on food would be something you can put in your mouth, ingest and has some sort of nutritional value. Maybe CBP ought to have a formal definition of food - that particular officer's interpretation makes several items that we would not typically consider food to be food.
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Old Aug 21, 18, 12:15 pm
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Originally Posted by TheMadBrewer View Post
I guess that means medicines are food? Is toothpaste/mouthwash food? If chewing gum is "food" I don't see why toothpaste isn't.
That's just being argumentative. I used a simplified, general definition, instead of some legalistic, "what the definition of is is" one. Is that what you want? 3 paragraphs on the screen to satisfy your definitional demands? 3 paragraphs that could change without notice, so every time you go through you've got to read it word for word? More pertinently, that every traveler in front of you gets to spend an extra 5 minutes reading it? Might as well just get in the regular line.
You know that toothpaste ain't food, so does CBP.
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Old Aug 21, 18, 3:25 pm
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Originally Posted by rickg523 View Post
That's just being argumentative. I used a simplified, general definition, instead of some legalistic, "what the definition of is is" one. Is that what you want? 3 paragraphs on the screen to satisfy your definitional demands? 3 paragraphs that could change without notice, so every time you go through you've got to read it word for word? More pertinently, that every traveler in front of you gets to spend an extra 5 minutes reading it? Might as well just get in the regular line.
You know that toothpaste ain't food, so does CBP.
In that case, "anything you can put into your mouth" doesn't clarify anything.

You're just saying food is food.
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Old Aug 21, 18, 5:31 pm
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Originally Posted by rickg523 View Post
That's just being argumentative. I used a simplified, general definition, instead of some legalistic, "what the definition of is is" one. Is that what you want? 3 paragraphs on the screen to satisfy your definitional demands? 3 paragraphs that could change without notice, so every time you go through you've got to read it word for word? More pertinently, that every traveler in front of you gets to spend an extra 5 minutes reading it? Might as well just get in the regular line.
You know that toothpaste ain't food, so does CBP.
I'm not being argumentative -- you said you were given direction by CBP if you put it in your mouth it is food. If you say "of course that is not food" how am I to know and what logic to I apply. And I would argue that toothpaste and chewing gum are logically the same -- you put them in your mouth but you (generally) don't swallow them. If get dinged for one I should get dinged for the other. I guess we are at "I don't know what food is but I know it when I see it"
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Old Aug 21, 18, 7:39 pm
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https://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/fi...info-guide.pdf

5. You must declare any fruits, vegetables, plants, insects, meats or meat products, dairy products, animals or animals/wildlife products, disease agents, cell cultures, snails, or soil. If you have visited a farm/ranch/pasture outside the United States, please let the CBP officer know.

No broad category of FOOD.
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Old Aug 21, 18, 10:02 pm
  #833  
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Originally Posted by Repooc17 View Post
https://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/fi...info-guide.pdf

5. You must declare any fruits, vegetables, plants, insects, meats or meat products, dairy products, animals or animals/wildlife products, disease agents, cell cultures, snails, or soil. If you have visited a farm/ranch/pasture outside the United States, please let the CBP officer know.

No broad category of FOOD.
That pamphlet was published in 2013.

The GE kiosks, at least the ones that I've used at LAX, JFK and MIA in the past two years or so, do list the catchall "food" category in addition to all the other specific items.
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Old Aug 21, 18, 10:36 pm
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Originally Posted by richarddd View Post
In that case, "anything you can put into your mouth" doesn't clarify anything.

You're just saying food is food.
+1, not to mention there's a cultural element as to whether certain things are edible or not.
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Old Aug 22, 18, 6:42 am
  #835  
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Originally Posted by Repooc17 View Post
https://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/fi...info-guide.pdf

5. You must declare any fruits, vegetables, plants, insects, meats or meat products, dairy products, animals or animals/wildlife products, disease agents, cell cultures, snails, or soil. If you have visited a farm/ranch/pasture outside the United States, please let the CBP officer know.

No broad category of FOOD.
Even with this narrow and out-dated definition, there's room for confusion.

I don't think most folks read the above list and realize that ramen seasoning packets, gum, breath mints, tea, chocolate candy and cookies have all been challenged and have to be declared. (Some ramen packets have 'meat' product, tea in any form is 'plant matter' as well as 'food', and a lot of chocolate candy contains milk (dairy product) Some candy and cookies have raisins (fruit) in them.
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Old Aug 22, 18, 10:40 am
  #836  
 
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Originally Posted by TheMadBrewer View Post

​​​​I guess we are at "I don't know what food is but I know it when I see it"
Exactly! It's CBP - there will never be actual rules. It's always at their whim.
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Old Aug 22, 18, 11:57 am
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5. You must declare any fruits, vegetables, plants, insects, meats or meat products, dairy products, animals or animals/wildlife products, disease agents, cell cultures, snails, or soil. If you have visited a farm/ranch/pasture outside the United States, please let the CBP officer know.

This is what was listed at ORD last week when we came through. I read it twice to make sure it didn't list food as we had some chocolate. Didn't see food so I checked no.
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Old Aug 22, 18, 1:28 pm
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Originally Posted by davie355 View Post
+1, not to mention there's a cultural element as to whether certain things are edible or not.
True, although I'd welcome an example of something eaten in other cultures that wouldn't be properly declared for some reason (e.g., insects, certain plants not commonly eaten, animals). If some culture is eating toothpaste or office paper, do tell!

Anyway, I'd be a lot more comfortable arguing "you're telling me my failure to declare toothpaste violates the food declaration rule?" than arguing "you're telling me that my failure to declare the protein bar I bought in the US and came back with violates the rule?".
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Old Aug 22, 18, 5:46 pm
  #839  
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As others have stated

Originally Posted by chollie View Post
Even with this narrow and out-dated definition, there's room for confusion.

I don't think most folks read the above list and realize that ramen seasoning packets, gum, breath mints, tea, chocolate candy and cookies have all been challenged and have to be declared. (Some ramen packets have 'meat' product, tea in any form is 'plant matter' as well as 'food', and a lot of chocolate candy contains milk (dairy product) Some candy and cookies have raisins (fruit) in them.

The kiosks now specifically use the word “food” - At least the kiosk at Halifax Canada pre-clearance.

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Old Aug 24, 18, 10:18 pm
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Originally Posted by rkb2530 View Post
This is what was listed at ORD last week when we came through. I read it twice to make sure it didn't list food as we had some chocolate. Didn't see food so I checked no.
There is one potential issue with this approach. What happens if the CBP Officer at the exit point asks, "Do you have any food." You say yes, Officer says how come it's not declared, you say it's chocolate and the screen didn't mention it -- if the Officer really has it out for you, you may be lost, as there is plenty of written verbiage indicating "all food" requires declaration.

I maintain my position that dry/packaged goods aren't in the spirit of "food." This is only my personal position (although obviously also the position of many frontline officers).
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