California Border Inspectors - spices?

I’m taking a trip (driving) to California and I’m getting paranoid about the agricultural inspectors at the border. I’m planning on cooking for my sister, so I’m bringing a canister of all my Indian spices. Is there any risk of confiscation? We’re talking seeds, dried peppers, pieces of bark (cinnamon), plus ground spices.

In my experience, they ask about citrus fruits, bananas and other fresh produce. I’m sure there must be a website that tells you all this, though.

As far as I can tell they only ask about fresh/live fruits, veggies and plants however here’s a link to the CA department of food & agriculture regarding this topic.

The fact sheets all specifically reference fresh/live items. I doubt very much that dried herbs and spices are an issue and I’ve never been asked about them when I was returning from out of state but if you’re really concerned they have contacts listed so you can call or email.

IIRC, it was implemented to control the MedFly epidemic so I believe the agricultural inspection is limited to those fruits that may contain live larvae or eggs so my guess would be no.

Don’t act paranoid, like you’re trying to hide something. :wink:

Just hide it all under a kilo of marijuana. They won’t care about that.



Thanks, all!

The spice must flow!

Where are you coming from? They wave me through all the time because I am coming from a neighboring county.

Where are you going? They will ask more questions if you tell them you’re headed to Napa or somewhere else with strict agricultural controls. Don’t lie to them though; it will probably end up worse if they figure that out.

Spice/K2/Synthetic marijuana is probably not the spice they want you to bring, either. Neither is sandworm jizz, or whatever it’s supposed to be.

They’ve been doing an inspection since the 1940s to my certain knowledge. They used to put your suitcases on a table and actually go through them, looking for god knows what. They weren’t as intrusive as the TSA but nothing was off limits to them, although I don’t remember any pat downs or body searches.

ETA: My family took vacations in CA with relatives. The fact that we lived in Texas might have been a factor in how thorough a search I remember. I recall being asked if we had any live cotton plants or pecans.

Interesting. The linked site says that they’ve been doing inspections since the 1920s, but thet they only have inspection posts on 16 major roads into the state. Are there other high-traffic roads in? What about trains and planes?

When I flew to California, I don’t remember an agricultural inspection, but it may have been part of US Customs. On the other hand, Customs was “pre-clearance” at the airrport in Toronto, so that might not have been California-specific.

I travel to California frequently. They will ask you if you have any plants or vegetable produce. If you say “no” they wave you through. There’s no search they just wave you through or ask to inspect your plants or vegetable produce to look for contageus disease.

This is a huge waste of time. I drove from Reno to Truckee yesterday and was waved through. In fact in 30 years of living in Nevada and driving to California several times a month, I have been stopped once (we had a banana on the dashboard). If CA wants to cut spending, this is the place to start.

I made the California spice run in less than twelve parsecs.