CBP Notifies Travelers of New Regulations for Chicharrones

The regulations regarding bringing cooked pork skins or rinds, also called cracklings or chicharrones, into the U.S. from Mexico are changing. Officials are urging travelers to be aware of the new requirements, and to always declare all food items to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers when crossing the border.
Pork meat and pork products from Mexico, cooked or uncooked, will continue to be prohibited from Mexico. Currently, travelers are permitted to bring cooked pork skins into the U.S from all areas of Mexico, if they are crisp and crumble easily.
Beginning January 14, CBP will begin enforcing new regulations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service requiring that cooked pork skins from countries or regions affected with certain exotic animal diseases be accompanied by an original certificate issued by an official of the National Government of the country/region of origin.
The regulations apply to pork skins whether they are being brought into the U.S. as commercial cargo or as a personal importation by an individual traveler.
Currently, CBP officers are required to ensure that the pork skins are thoroughly cooked; the pork skins or rinds must be crisp and should crumble easily when bent.
With the new requirement, cooked pork skins originating from Mexican states OTHER THAN the states of Baja California, Baja California Sur, Campeche Chihuahua, Nayarit, Quintana Roo, Sinaloa, Sonora, or Yucatan must be accompanied by an original health certificate certifying that either: The pork skins were cooked in oil for at least 80 minutes when oil temperature is consistently maintained at a minimum of 114 degrees Celsius. Or, that the pork skins were dry-cooked at a minimum of 260 degrees Celsius for approximately 210 minutes after which the pork skins were cooked in hot oil (deep-fried) at a minimum of 104 degrees Celsius for an additional 150 minutes.
CBP officers and agriculture specialists enforce hundreds of laws at the border for other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. Following other agency regulations, CBP is required to take action when encountering pork skins: importations presented without the required certification will be seized or refused entry when the Mexican origin products are from states not listed above.
As a reminder, travelers are encouraged to declare all food items to CBP officials.  Failure to declare prohibited agricultural items can result in civil penalties. Penalties for personal importations of undeclared, prohibited agricultural items, depending on the severity of the violation, can run as high as $1,000; and up to more than $250,000 for commercial importations.


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