All I want for Christmas is my yum smoked meat.
December 14, 2009 4:19 PM   Subscribe

I'm traveling to Dallas on Northwest Airlines from Montreal Pierre Trudeau Airport tomorrow morning. I just bought three pounds of smoked meat that is NOT shrink wrapped. Can I take it? Can I carry it on?

I just spoke with someone from Travelocity and someone from U.S. Customs at the New York border. Both said to put it in my luggage and it should be fine. I wasn't planning on checking a bag. Obviously, I CAN check a bag, and I will if I have to, but does anyone have any experience doing this, either in checked luggage or carry-on? Thanks!
posted by nosila to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total)
It should be fine.

The main concern is raw vegetables and fruit (because of the fungi and insects they harbor), especially if you intend to travel outside of the cities and might inadvertently spread pests to farmland.
posted by randomstriker at 4:32 PM on December 14, 2009

You should fall well within the restrictions on meat importation from the US.

I assume the OP is transporting smoked meat from Montreal into Dallas (if you're doing it the other way, you're probably doing it wrong). In which case, this entry from the US Customs and Border Protection would probably be relevant, in particular this excerpt:
The Department of Agriculture has recently relaxed rules for travelers arriving from Canada with food products involving some meat products. Beef and game products are now allowed entry. This includes frozen, cooked, canned or otherwise processed beef, veal, venison, elk, bison, etc.
For what it's worth, I was pulled aside once a few years ago at Dorval for USDA inspection. It happened in the area right after the usual customs checkpoint where they hand in your declaration form but before you put your checked luggage on the conveyor belt. They do go through your checked luggage in addition to your carry-on looking for questionable/prohibited items.
posted by mhum at 5:39 PM on December 14, 2009

As someone who had meat juices dripped all over her luggage after another passenger's smoked meats and disgustingly stinky fish juices dripped out of their luggage, PLEASE make sure it is well wrapped, and then wrapped again.
posted by banannafish at 6:08 PM on December 14, 2009

Welp, I'm resigned to taking the official advice and checking a bag, which will make my two transfers less of a pain anyway (though it's just those transfers that increase the likelihood that I will lose everything in said bag). I will absolutely make sure it's bulletproof, banannafish, and thanks for the reminder. And I'll definitely declare. And what's more, I'll update this thread and let metafilter know how it went.
posted by nosila at 8:06 PM on December 14, 2009

I'm too late (but in case someone cares), but I used to live in Montreal 2 blocks from Schwartz deli and its world famous smoked meat. We used to fly everywhere with smoked meat as gifts. No problem. Indicating that it is smoked is cooked and smoked (processed) is a good idea.

The other reason to wrap it well: To keep you and your fellow passengers from smelling it through the entire flight but without being able to eat it. I used to sometimes do take out smoked meat and take it with me on the plane or train, and without fail everyone else around me wished they had some (until the 3rd hour, by which time I'm sure they wished they couldn't still smell it)!
posted by kch at 9:54 PM on December 14, 2009

Regarding wrapping the meat: make sure there is space for trapped air to expand.

Likely what happened in bananafish's case is that the offender did wrap their meat/fish, but the wrapping blew up as cabin (and luggage compartment) air pressure dropped.
posted by randomstriker at 10:19 AM on December 15, 2009

I brought salami from Italy, via the UK, into DFW about three years ago. I declared it on my customs form. I was taken aside, my bags searched and the salami confiscated. The customs officer was rude, kept me far longer than necessary, tried to intimidate me by telling me that bringing meat products into the US could result in a large fine. I asked how this was the case when I had declared it. He said in that case I couldn't be fined... but it was really suspicious that I had tried to bring it in... blah... blah... End result: no (nduja) salami.
posted by NailsTheCat at 2:22 PM on December 15, 2009

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