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Newark, NJ - Orthodox Couple Fined $300 For Having Apple, Tomato, 3 Cucumbers In Backpack At Newark Liberty

Published on: August 11, 2011 11:54 PM
By:  WCBS TV
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Newark, NJ - A family of four from Florida visiting relatives in New Jersey got an unwelcome surprise at the Customs gate — all because of some forgotten fruit and vegetables.

The oversight was an expensive one that has the family fuming, reports CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey.

“I don’t have to be traumatized like this. Nobody should have to be traumatized,” Suri Steinberger said.

Suri and Peter Steinberger are livid after what they call an over-reaction by customs agents at Newark Liberty Airport. They were told they had violated a federal crime — forgetting about an apple, a tomato and three cucumbers in their son’s backpack.

“For me it was like, you know, what you see on TV. I thought I was going to get handcuffed, they have my kids. So I just started to cry,” Suri Steinberger said.

The run-in with Customs agents happened Thursday at the end of a long trip from Israel. Suri packed the vegetables as snack for her boys.

“Let them eat it on the plane instead of eating garbage,” Suri said.

The problem was she didn’t sit with her husband and two boys on the flight and Peter didn’t know the produce was in the bag.

So when the declaration form came around, Peter said he “checked no on all the boxes.”

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Customs officials told Hennessey strict rules are for “agricultural integrity” and that passengers have multiple opportunities to amend the Customs declaration form.

“I have no idea what they mean by that except for the fact they say you should have been looking at the posted signs,” Peter said.

While passengers were stunned at the strictness, others said it was par for the course.

“Other countries do it, too. They’re pretty strict. I travel a lot for work and I get the same thing,” said Christine Colella of North Brunswick, N.J.

Customs did say it’s up to the discretion of the officer to “destroy” the product or “fine the traveler,” discretion this family said was sorely missing given the Customs sheet showing the prohibited items and their $300 fine.

“You’re coming off a flight after 19 hours. You’re all flustered. You don’t know what world you’re on. The first thing on your mind isn’t vegetables in your backpack,” Peter said.

The family hopes what happened is a lesson to others that even an innocent mistake at customs may be a costly one.

The Steinbergers said they don’t expect to get their money back but do plan on taking the case with higher ups at customs.


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1

 Aug 12, 2011 at 12:22 AM Anonymous Says:

Its getting tiring to hear the constant whining from people who break clearly stated rules and blame those who enforce the law for their ignorance or negligence. Just about every country in the world (including EY) has strict rules on declaring any raw food/vegetables/fruit/meat you are bringing into the country. If the stress of flying is too much, than stay home but don't blame others for your "unintentional" violation of the rules.

2

 Aug 12, 2011 at 12:22 AM HaNavon Says:

A meshuggenner medina....

3

 Aug 12, 2011 at 12:43 AM KVETCH Says:

article say from Florida to New Jersey? what customs?

4

 Aug 12, 2011 at 12:49 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Its getting tiring to hear the constant whining from people who break clearly stated rules and blame those who enforce the law for their ignorance or negligence. Just about every country in the world (including EY) has strict rules on declaring any raw food/vegetables/fruit/meat you are bringing into the country. If the stress of flying is too much, than stay home but don't blame others for your "unintentional" violation of the rules.

they did say they dont expect to get the money back. The real point is that the customs agent should realize they just traveled along flight and should be a little more lenient when its a couple vegetables doing no harm.

5

 Aug 12, 2011 at 12:50 AM Californian Says:

This reminds me of the idiots who cross the street when the sign clearly states "DON"T WALK". They always say "we always do it in New York" or wherever they come from.

Stop whining and obey the laws! Morons.

6

 Aug 12, 2011 at 12:55 AM DovidTheK Says:

The customs agent has the option of confiscating and destroying the vegetables or assessing a fine. Maybe so the family would be oiver a lav baal tashchis, he decided to go with the fine instead of the destruction.

7

 Aug 12, 2011 at 12:57 AM gitteryid Says:

Reply to # 1 - u sound like a boered retired 90 year old costoms agent, u know what shut up!
I would ask you, but please don't reply, since I'm sick and tired of seeing these depressed people's (like you are) comments, how to u break the law by not knowing what his wife packed for the kids in the bag,

8

 Aug 12, 2011 at 12:57 AM iknow Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Its getting tiring to hear the constant whining from people who break clearly stated rules and blame those who enforce the law for their ignorance or negligence. Just about every country in the world (including EY) has strict rules on declaring any raw food/vegetables/fruit/meat you are bringing into the country. If the stress of flying is too much, than stay home but don't blame others for your "unintentional" violation of the rules.

איך ווייס נישט צו די פארשטייסט מאמע לשון, אבער לאמיר דיך פארשטיין געבען זייער קלאר, ס'איז דא אזא זאך וואס רופט זיך א פינפטען שלחון ערוך, און דאס איז וואס די אמעריקאנער רעגירונג פארמאגט נישט, יעדער פארשטייט אז מ'דארף פאלגן די געזעצען, אבער פון די אנדערע זייט אז מ'זעהט ווי א משפחה מיט קינדער שלעפען זיך א לאנגע נסיעה, מעג ווען דער קאסטעם אגענט האבן מער שכל און פארשטיין אז דאס איז געווען א טעות, און מ'גיבט א ווארענונג און מ'גייט זיך ווייטער... נישט ווייל די האסט די כוח פון זיין א קאסטעמס עידשענט מיינט שוין אז די דארפסט אויספירען די שליחות ביזען סוף, ס'איז דא אלטערניווער וועגען וואו אזוי צו באהאנדלען א זאך, און אונזער אמעריקאנער מלכות של חסד האט נישט דעם פינפטען שלחון ערוך, נישט נאר ביי דעם פאל, נאר איבעראל

9

 Aug 12, 2011 at 12:59 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

they did say they dont expect to get the money back. The real point is that the customs agent should realize they just traveled along flight and should be a little more lenient when its a couple vegetables doing no harm.

"the customs agent should realize they just traveled along flight and should be a little more lenient when its a couple vegetables doing no harm"

The reason they have a "zero tolerance" policy is to discourage exactly the kind of arbitrary and discretionary enforcement you seem to feel is ok. The agents at JFK and other airports don't have the ability to examine each piece of fruit or vegetable to determine if it might be carrying some kind of parasite or virus that could devestate U.S. growers. By strictly enforcing the rules, they hope to make sure that there are no such items brought in and those who do will be punished severely to discourage others from doing so.

10

 Aug 12, 2011 at 01:04 AM bbddee Says:

Reply to #3  
KVETCH Says:

article say from Florida to New Jersey? what customs?

There is no direct flight from Ben Gurion to Miami. You go through customs at your first leg that lands in the US.

11

 Aug 12, 2011 at 01:09 AM username Says:

At first glance I thought the headline said "Newark Library..."

(See, there I understand a no food policy, but $300? LOL)

12

 Aug 12, 2011 at 01:13 AM Anonymous Says:

The family is from Florida and they were traveling through NJ on their way back from Israel, thus customs on arriving into their first port of entry of the U.S.

It does say that it is at the discretion of the customs agent to have them discard the food or to fine them. I had the same thing happen to me in the airport in Los Angeles and they just had me throw out the food into sanitary trash cans in the customs area. There should either be a hard and fast rule with set amounts for fines for violations or compassionate customs agents. They were obviously not trying to infect the agriculture in the U.S. by bringing in foreign substances in. When I was in the customs area having my bags checked, another family who got off the plane (which had arrived from Paris) had TREES in their luggage!!!

13

 Aug 12, 2011 at 01:15 AM stamm Says:

Reply to #5  
Californian Says:

This reminds me of the idiots who cross the street when the sign clearly states "DON"T WALK". They always say "we always do it in New York" or wherever they come from.

Stop whining and obey the laws! Morons.

no, i think this is quite quite different. I am sure that an orthodox muslim family would not get fined. face the reality, dear!

14

 Aug 12, 2011 at 01:35 AM NeveAliza Says:

I feel sorry for Reb Peter, but דינא דמלכותא דינא.

15

 Aug 12, 2011 at 02:18 AM Anon Ibid Opcit Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

they did say they dont expect to get the money back. The real point is that the customs agent should realize they just traveled along flight and should be a little more lenient when its a couple vegetables doing no harm.

Nope. Sorry. The laws are there for very good reasons. A few apple maggots or a microscopic soil fungus could cause millions of dollars of damage to Israeli agriculture. All it takes is one vegetable or piece of fruit. If there weren't penalties nobody would bother to obey these laws. A long flight? They're Jews going to EY? That doesn't make any difference. The potential for harm is terrible. The Customs form they filled out almost certainly asked if they had fruits of vegetables.

But they feel "traumatized" and nobody should feel "traumatized". They broke the law and knew what they were doing. They actually got off pretty lightly.

16

 Aug 12, 2011 at 02:43 AM Wannabe Says:

There are signs that clearly state that no perishable foods should be brought in, E.G. sandwiches or fruits/vegetables. Newark is notorious for strictly enforcing this rule. We once forgot that we had a sandwich in a backback and the customs agents were extremely rude; yelling at us and threatening to fine. Since then we always make sure to double check our bags for food. Lesson learned.

17

 Aug 12, 2011 at 03:18 AM anonymous Says:

the law is the law!!!!

18

 Aug 12, 2011 at 03:44 AM Yawvous Says:

Truth of the matter is- everyone knows that there exist customs investigations when entering the country. There are so many ways one can circumvent the issue and bring the food in if they wanted to do it the smart way and when getting caught try to be apologetic instead of rebellious- goes to show that it doesn't pay to be shortsighted.

19

 Aug 12, 2011 at 03:54 AM Mordechai Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Its getting tiring to hear the constant whining from people who break clearly stated rules and blame those who enforce the law for their ignorance or negligence. Just about every country in the world (including EY) has strict rules on declaring any raw food/vegetables/fruit/meat you are bringing into the country. If the stress of flying is too much, than stay home but don't blame others for your "unintentional" violation of the rules.

I would like to see your reaction if you had been the family fined.
As a side, I do find the American Immigration and Customs officials rather aggressive. You arrive in America after a long international flight (in my case 14 1/2 hours from Sydney) and the immigration officer growls at you like you have done something wrong. I hate flying to USA every time, because of the rude welcome to "the home of the free, land of the brave". I have been to other Countries, and have never been treated like arriving in USA.

20

 Aug 12, 2011 at 04:12 AM Chelmite Says:

I wish they were as careful and stringent about foriegners coming through with Nukes and Drugs in their valises,

21

 Aug 12, 2011 at 04:30 AM Greener Says:

What I found most interesting is the statement by Peter S: "You’re coming off a flight after 19 hours. . ." Since when is the Tel Aviv - Newark flight 19 hours? I can't believe they circled the airport for 7 hours before landing. Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater.

22

 Aug 12, 2011 at 04:41 AM Boruch_shelo_asani_liberal Says:

Im a liberal Humanity activist and the first thing that comes to my mind is to stand up for the great many rules we are privliged to have. Actually, not rules, but law. Sacred Law. We must understand that these laws were put in place for a reason such as containing the spreading of diseases. So therefore the couple should pay for what they have done. Dina dimalchusa Dina

23

 Aug 12, 2011 at 05:07 AM Anonymous Says:

An all this coming from the country that uses the worst strong-arm tactics to flood the rest of the world with dangerous GM garbage.

24

 Aug 12, 2011 at 05:38 AM mommy Says:

I had sunflower seeds in my carry-on when I came back from Israel. The customs guy just took it away without any fines . He was a mentch! Now I see what I "missed".

25

 Aug 12, 2011 at 05:48 AM no rachmonus Says:

Sorry, it seems this was customs coming from Israel. The law is the law for valid reasons and everybody knows it.

26

 Aug 12, 2011 at 06:01 AM allmark Says:

The issue isn't whether they didn't follow the rules, the said they did bring the fruit in, the issue is whether they should have been fined or just warned. As the official from Customs said, the officer has discretion and could easily have warned them and not given them a fine.

The question is why were they fined and not just warned?

My wife and I made the same mistake a few years ago when boarding a flight from Hawaii back to Newark. While waiting in line in Honolulu, we were "beagled". They have specially trained beagles who sniff peoples' bags. We'd forgotten some oranges or apples in a carry on bag. The agent asked to see what was in the bag and when he found the produce took it and explained why it was so important to not bring produce into the Mainland. We were not fined a penny.

27

 Aug 12, 2011 at 01:36 AM labediger Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Its getting tiring to hear the constant whining from people who break clearly stated rules and blame those who enforce the law for their ignorance or negligence. Just about every country in the world (including EY) has strict rules on declaring any raw food/vegetables/fruit/meat you are bringing into the country. If the stress of flying is too much, than stay home but don't blame others for your "unintentional" violation of the rules.

Al tadin es chaveirchu ad shetagia limkomo

28

 Aug 12, 2011 at 06:55 AM Chaim_Ben-Yehuda Says:

Reply to #18  
Yawvous Says:

Truth of the matter is- everyone knows that there exist customs investigations when entering the country. There are so many ways one can circumvent the issue and bring the food in if they wanted to do it the smart way and when getting caught try to be apologetic instead of rebellious- goes to show that it doesn't pay to be shortsighted.

"There are so many ways one can circumvent the issue"

That sums up the charedi attitude to דינא דמלכותא דינא: laws are there to be flagrantly broken as they don't have to be observed by, or apply to, us.

No wonder we are hated and reviled.

29

 Aug 12, 2011 at 07:03 AM Duvdevani Says:

Reply to #19  
Mordechai Says:

I would like to see your reaction if you had been the family fined.
As a side, I do find the American Immigration and Customs officials rather aggressive. You arrive in America after a long international flight (in my case 14 1/2 hours from Sydney) and the immigration officer growls at you like you have done something wrong. I hate flying to USA every time, because of the rude welcome to "the home of the free, land of the brave". I have been to other Countries, and have never been treated like arriving in USA.

"I do find the American Immigration and Customs officials rather aggressive"

That is hardly surprising; they have to be that way. Suri and Peter Steinberger and their children were just one group out of the many thousands that arrived that day at Liberty International. Airports are open 24 hours a day, all year round.

Is it any wonder that the people paid to protect the country against unwanted and undesirable people, and to protect agriculture in the United States against unwanted hostile organisms, can appear a little aggressive - particularly when faced with people who think they are above the law? Yawvous #18 summed up that attitude perfectly when he/she wrote: "There are so many ways one can circumvent the issue and bring the food in if they wanted to do it the smart way".

And please do not forget that legal maxim: "Ignorance of the law is no excuse".

30

 Aug 12, 2011 at 07:27 AM Shlomo Says:

I travel a fair amount and go through customs on a regular basis. Before you reach them, you have to fill out the little form and attest that you are not bringing in fresh fruit. Once they inspect and find some, you've already violated the law (by lying on the declaration). $300 is the fine for the violation.
Why is this a news story? This happens on fairly regular basis.
When you see the havoc wrecked on the environment by things brought in from other countries (moths, fungi, fish, weeds, etc.), you can understand why the law is so strict.

31

 Aug 12, 2011 at 07:30 AM Babishka Says:

We once returned from a trip to Russia with some pirated DVDs in our luggage. We forgot all about them and the Customs people were more concerned about what we had in our sandwiches.

32

 Aug 12, 2011 at 07:35 AM Anonymous Says:

I love these tzaddikim who take the Dina Demalchusa Dina attitude. What it really says is that we should punish wherever we can, whether laws make sense or not. This bloodthirsty attitude is a remnant of the carnivorous tendency, emanating from our nefesh habehamis. Recognize it well. We all have some of it, but the clowns attacking these innocent victims here excel in being behaimos. If Customs is so hell bent on insuring these tainted foods do not enter US, they can discard them at the airport. No, all you paranoid behaimos, it will not lead to carts full of rotting fruit. Get real. We have entered a world in which every government officer, at any level, feels it is his/her duty to levy monetary punishment on anyone for anything. Perhaps they justify this in their consciences that they are helping ease the national debt. But they are just being achzorim. That's the mentality. It's not human, but animal. Stop looking to justify it.

33

 Aug 12, 2011 at 07:38 AM stamm Says:

Reply to #8  
iknow Says:

איך ווייס נישט צו די פארשטייסט מאמע לשון, אבער לאמיר דיך פארשטיין געבען זייער קלאר, ס'איז דא אזא זאך וואס רופט זיך א פינפטען שלחון ערוך, און דאס איז וואס די אמעריקאנער רעגירונג פארמאגט נישט, יעדער פארשטייט אז מ'דארף פאלגן די געזעצען, אבער פון די אנדערע זייט אז מ'זעהט ווי א משפחה מיט קינדער שלעפען זיך א לאנגע נסיעה, מעג ווען דער קאסטעם אגענט האבן מער שכל און פארשטיין אז דאס איז געווען א טעות, און מ'גיבט א ווארענונג און מ'גייט זיך ווייטער... נישט ווייל די האסט די כוח פון זיין א קאסטעמס עידשענט מיינט שוין אז די דארפסט אויספירען די שליחות ביזען סוף, ס'איז דא אלטערניווער וועגען וואו אזוי צו באהאנדלען א זאך, און אונזער אמעריקאנער מלכות של חסד האט נישט דעם פינפטען שלחון ערוך, נישט נאר ביי דעם פאל, נאר איבעראל

git gezugt
It is enuf of a warning when they take the stuff away just like any liquids. they don't fine you they take it away. that is their job, to screen your stuff whether you have anything or not they go through the same procedure.

34

 Aug 12, 2011 at 07:43 AM DB_from_LI Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Its getting tiring to hear the constant whining from people who break clearly stated rules and blame those who enforce the law for their ignorance or negligence. Just about every country in the world (including EY) has strict rules on declaring any raw food/vegetables/fruit/meat you are bringing into the country. If the stress of flying is too much, than stay home but don't blame others for your "unintentional" violation of the rules.

Sorry normal amounts of food in a snack bag is NOT importing produce. If the tomato was eaten but a seed squirted out & landed on a shirtsleeve unnoticed until customs, would that that be a violation as well? Where does the madness end?

35

 Aug 12, 2011 at 07:50 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #21  
Greener Says:

What I found most interesting is the statement by Peter S: "You’re coming off a flight after 19 hours. . ." Since when is the Tel Aviv - Newark flight 19 hours? I can't believe they circled the airport for 7 hours before landing. Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater.

Yes my dear pumpkin eater, with a stop over its easily 29 hours, if you wish you can add the 2 hours sitting in the airport prior to the flight.

36

 Aug 12, 2011 at 07:56 AM Positive Says:

Its not the fine, its nasty and aggressive way of handling it, its attitude, its the humiliation the Steinbergs had to go through.

37

 Aug 12, 2011 at 08:01 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Its getting tiring to hear the constant whining from people who break clearly stated rules and blame those who enforce the law for their ignorance or negligence. Just about every country in the world (including EY) has strict rules on declaring any raw food/vegetables/fruit/meat you are bringing into the country. If the stress of flying is too much, than stay home but don't blame others for your "unintentional" violation of the rules.

Take a breath and relax - you're being overly harsh on this family which has a very credible story as to how they made this mistake. Read the article carefully now, and you'll see that custom officials have "discretion" as to whether they will discard the produce or fine the "violator". If this isn't a case for such discretion, then what is? Check your agendas at the comment site.

38

 Aug 12, 2011 at 08:02 AM searched for a reason Says:

Many years ago I was selected for a search an agricultural search at Newark. Nothing was found. I later inquired whether the search was done to pick on travelers with yarmulkes. A Jewish named inspector (possibly frum Jewish) explained that frum Jews were one of the groups most likely to be carrying food. He told me that I should understand that not everybody can just buy food at the airport so "religious" Jews travel prepared.
Please do not break the law and then complain!

39

 Aug 12, 2011 at 08:09 AM DovidTheK Says:

Reply to #21  
Greener Says:

What I found most interesting is the statement by Peter S: "You’re coming off a flight after 19 hours. . ." Since when is the Tel Aviv - Newark flight 19 hours? I can't believe they circled the airport for 7 hours before landing. Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater.

There are plenty of flights that have a change of planes somewhere in Europe with a long layover. I have been on 19 hour (and more) flights.

40

 Aug 12, 2011 at 08:18 AM qazxc Says:

Two questions for all of you ready to lynch these folks and those flying the dina demalchusa dina banner: 1). How many times a day do people get nabbed with a few fruits in their luggage and 2) how many of those incidents end with the imposition of a $300.00 fine.

Any opinion formed wiithout those two bits of information is just silly noise.

41

 Aug 12, 2011 at 08:41 AM labediger Says:

Reply to #8  
iknow Says:

איך ווייס נישט צו די פארשטייסט מאמע לשון, אבער לאמיר דיך פארשטיין געבען זייער קלאר, ס'איז דא אזא זאך וואס רופט זיך א פינפטען שלחון ערוך, און דאס איז וואס די אמעריקאנער רעגירונג פארמאגט נישט, יעדער פארשטייט אז מ'דארף פאלגן די געזעצען, אבער פון די אנדערע זייט אז מ'זעהט ווי א משפחה מיט קינדער שלעפען זיך א לאנגע נסיעה, מעג ווען דער קאסטעם אגענט האבן מער שכל און פארשטיין אז דאס איז געווען א טעות, און מ'גיבט א ווארענונג און מ'גייט זיך ווייטער... נישט ווייל די האסט די כוח פון זיין א קאסטעמס עידשענט מיינט שוין אז די דארפסט אויספירען די שליחות ביזען סוף, ס'איז דא אלטערניווער וועגען וואו אזוי צו באהאנדלען א זאך, און אונזער אמעריקאנער מלכות של חסד האט נישט דעם פינפטען שלחון ערוך, נישט נאר ביי דעם פאל, נאר איבעראל

Hindred protsent gerecht!

42

 Aug 12, 2011 at 08:42 AM MosheM Says:

Oh, these self-hating Jews always rushing to comment against a fellow Jew.

43

 Aug 12, 2011 at 08:55 AM N0Name Says:

Maybe it was motivated by anti-semitism? Why is no one concerned about that?

44

 Aug 12, 2011 at 08:56 AM kollelfaker Says:

this is pure baloney when boarding in Israel they ask you if you have any food or drink and like all of us frummies this is for everyone but us they knew it and tried to get away it is against the law and that's IT

45

 Aug 12, 2011 at 08:58 AM CBD Says:

They should worry about more important things!
And a fine of 300$ what are they completely meshuge?

46

 Aug 12, 2011 at 08:59 AM ARI Says:

I agree with #1, and don't agree witgh #7 (especially his uncalled for rudeness). Regarding #26, it is true that when one comes back form Hawaii to the mainland, they are asked if they are bringing any fruit with them, as it is forbidden to do so. At the airport in Honolulu, I saw someone who stated that they didn't have any fruit. However, upon further inspection, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture official found some hidden fruit. He let them go after confiscating the fruit, but they should have known better. I really don't have any sympathy for individuals who break the law. If they didn't know about the federal regulations, they should have known. Ignorance is no excuse for violating the law (as the courts have ruled over and over).

47

 Aug 12, 2011 at 09:27 AM Liepa Says:

Reply to #5  
Californian Says:

This reminds me of the idiots who cross the street when the sign clearly states "DON"T WALK". They always say "we always do it in New York" or wherever they come from.

Stop whining and obey the laws! Morons.

As if you obey every law , please.

48

 Aug 12, 2011 at 09:06 AM PMOinFL Says:

Anyone who travels internationally knows that bringing fruit or vegetables into the US is illegal. There are GIANT signs and bins giving you a chance to throw out any produce. They give you the opportunity to check you bags before you go through customs. Typically, there is someone standing near the trash announcing that if you have any produce you should dispose of it now. They give you multiple reminders and every opportunity to stop and check your bags before going through customs because they know that people can forget. What more should they do?

The man was not ignorant of the law. He was too lazy to check what was in the bags that he did not pack.

Perhaps the fines were excessive, but to say that this man carries no responsibility here is a joke.

49

 Aug 12, 2011 at 09:55 AM Nobody Says:

Reply to #22  
Boruch_shelo_asani_liberal Says:

Im a liberal Humanity activist and the first thing that comes to my mind is to stand up for the great many rules we are privliged to have. Actually, not rules, but law. Sacred Law. We must understand that these laws were put in place for a reason such as containing the spreading of diseases. So therefore the couple should pay for what they have done. Dina dimalchusa Dina

There is nothing "sacred" about secular law. Let's review some things that are or have been law:

Blacks have to ride separate cars on trains.

You cannot pump your own Gas in New Jersey

You cannot operate a car dealership on Sunday (still the law in New Jersey)

In New York, women are allowed to go topless in public as long as it is not used as a Business.

Are all of those sacred?

50

 Aug 12, 2011 at 09:58 AM shtill Says:

Reply to #8  
iknow Says:

איך ווייס נישט צו די פארשטייסט מאמע לשון, אבער לאמיר דיך פארשטיין געבען זייער קלאר, ס'איז דא אזא זאך וואס רופט זיך א פינפטען שלחון ערוך, און דאס איז וואס די אמעריקאנער רעגירונג פארמאגט נישט, יעדער פארשטייט אז מ'דארף פאלגן די געזעצען, אבער פון די אנדערע זייט אז מ'זעהט ווי א משפחה מיט קינדער שלעפען זיך א לאנגע נסיעה, מעג ווען דער קאסטעם אגענט האבן מער שכל און פארשטיין אז דאס איז געווען א טעות, און מ'גיבט א ווארענונג און מ'גייט זיך ווייטער... נישט ווייל די האסט די כוח פון זיין א קאסטעמס עידשענט מיינט שוין אז די דארפסט אויספירען די שליחות ביזען סוף, ס'איז דא אלטערניווער וועגען וואו אזוי צו באהאנדלען א זאך, און אונזער אמעריקאנער מלכות של חסד האט נישט דעם פינפטען שלחון ערוך, נישט נאר ביי דעם פאל, נאר איבעראל

While I believe that this family really didn't realize what they were answering when they filled out the form, we must understand that these rules are not to be taken lightly. One fungus or pest infected fruit can wreak havoc on our agriculture. Fines should be imposed so that people (like this family) should check and double check their belongings before entering thr country.

51

 Aug 12, 2011 at 10:10 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #31  
Babishka Says:

We once returned from a trip to Russia with some pirated DVDs in our luggage. We forgot all about them and the Customs people were more concerned about what we had in our sandwiches.

Your DVD's will only destroy your neshama.
The sandwiches might destroy our crops.

52

 Aug 12, 2011 at 10:09 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #20  
Chelmite Says:

I wish they were as careful and stringent about foriegners coming through with Nukes and Drugs in their valises,

Ask the Satmar boys in Japan about that.

53

 Aug 12, 2011 at 10:01 AM chaim Says:

You like chumras well you got one

54

 Aug 12, 2011 at 10:06 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
Californian Says:

This reminds me of the idiots who cross the street when the sign clearly states "DON"T WALK". They always say "we always do it in New York" or wherever they come from.

Stop whining and obey the laws! Morons.

Can you imagine on Rosh Hashanah, Hashem doing the same thing to you and judging you the same way!!!

55

 Aug 12, 2011 at 10:07 AM Derech Eretz Says:

Reply to #7  
gitteryid Says:

Reply to # 1 - u sound like a boered retired 90 year old costoms agent, u know what shut up!
I would ask you, but please don't reply, since I'm sick and tired of seeing these depressed people's (like you are) comments, how to u break the law by not knowing what his wife packed for the kids in the bag,

You have none.

56

 Aug 12, 2011 at 10:42 AM bigwheeel Says:

Reply to #13  
stamm Says:

no, i think this is quite quite different. I am sure that an orthodox muslim family would not get fined. face the reality, dear!

I agree with you 100%. We can extrapolate this situation to the goings-on with traffic enforcement in the Jewish neighborhoods. There is a store in Boro Park which has no Jewish employees and very few Jewish customers. (Even though it is in Jewish ownership.) On several occasions when I was in the store, those paragons of intelligence and fairness, the Traffic Enforcement Agents would come inside the store inquiring about double parked cars if they belonged to any employee or customer. When is the last time that anyone from that department gave somebody a chance to move their car before being ticketed?!

57

 Aug 12, 2011 at 11:05 AM AL-Coholic Says:

Its sick out there...
And getting sicker...

58

 Aug 12, 2011 at 11:14 AM Caligirl Says:

Reply to #7  
gitteryid Says:

Reply to # 1 - u sound like a boered retired 90 year old costoms agent, u know what shut up!
I would ask you, but please don't reply, since I'm sick and tired of seeing these depressed people's (like you are) comments, how to u break the law by not knowing what his wife packed for the kids in the bag,

Please take some of your anger and focus it on learning proper English so we might "enjoy" your rants.

60

 Aug 12, 2011 at 11:35 AM Tzi_Bar_David Says:

If that "traumatized" her, may she never get an audit letter from the IRS. Intentionally or unintentionally they broke the law, now pay the fine and get on with your lives. It's not like they are going to have a criminal record following them around.

61

 Aug 12, 2011 at 11:39 AM stupid laws Says:

These laws are really stupid, because who eats infested produce anyway? Anyway no one tells bugs where they can or cannot go, so if they want to hitchhike a ride on a ship or a plane they can do so any time. How can a tuna or a deli sandwich cause a problem of insect infestation any how?

62

 Aug 12, 2011 at 11:40 AM zayin Says:

i went over the speed limit and didnt realize. i got a ticket
but its not my fault.............i didnt realize...

63

 Aug 12, 2011 at 01:34 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #43  
N0Name Says:

Maybe it was motivated by anti-semitism? Why is no one concerned about that?

I Agree. This definetly smells like anti semetism

64

 Aug 12, 2011 at 03:03 PM ShmuelG Says:

I am not sure what to make of this. Either that Customs agent is a real dog, or we didn't get the whole story. Because my experience is very contrary to what happened here.

I travel overseas, perhaps not excessively, but more than I would like, about 4 times a year. And every time my wife packs a meal for me, fruits included. Often, I will either forget to eat it or would not feel hungry, and I am not about to throw a perfectly good meal away. Needless to say, I never declare it. Most of the time they don't bother to inspect me but couple of times they did. On one occasion they confiscated my food (my wife think they needed lunch,) on another one or two they just let me through with my food. But never did they say an impolite word to me, much less demanded any money from me. So I am more than just a little bit surprise by the story.

65

 Aug 13, 2011 at 03:13 AM Jasper Ware Says:

Reply to #64  
ShmuelG Says:

I am not sure what to make of this. Either that Customs agent is a real dog, or we didn't get the whole story. Because my experience is very contrary to what happened here.

I travel overseas, perhaps not excessively, but more than I would like, about 4 times a year. And every time my wife packs a meal for me, fruits included. Often, I will either forget to eat it or would not feel hungry, and I am not about to throw a perfectly good meal away. Needless to say, I never declare it. Most of the time they don't bother to inspect me but couple of times they did. On one occasion they confiscated my food (my wife think they needed lunch,) on another one or two they just let me through with my food. But never did they say an impolite word to me, much less demanded any money from me. So I am more than just a little bit surprise by the story.

"And every time my wife packs a meal for me, fruits included. Often, I will either forget to eat it or would not feel hungry, and I am not about to throw a perfectly good meal away."

We may infer from that statement that your "4 times a year" overseas travel is for day trips. Why else would you keep a lunch packet that you had not eaten?

66

 Aug 14, 2011 at 12:02 AM ShmuelG Says:

Why, to eat it later, of course. The fact that I didn't feel hungry on the plane doesn't mean I won't feel hungry later the same day. Such obvious things need to be explained?

67

 Aug 14, 2011 at 01:24 AM Yawvous Says:

Reply to #28  
Chaim_Ben-Yehuda Says:

"There are so many ways one can circumvent the issue"

That sums up the charedi attitude to דינא דמלכותא דינא: laws are there to be flagrantly broken as they don't have to be observed by, or apply to, us.

No wonder we are hated and reviled.

Mr CBY- you misunderstood the point. The stress was upon the fact that they were simply misplanned and didn't reply properly. The escapade could have been avoided easily.
Matter of fact- the majority of people caught in similar instances have no need for the fruit and have no regret in parting with it when taken away. It is merely leftovers. As far as Dina DeMalchusa, I suggest you check Choshen Mishpat Sec. 369 before you start flinging accusations at "haredim".

68

 Aug 14, 2011 at 04:02 AM shoiteh Says:

Reply to #51  
Anonymous Says:

Your DVD's will only destroy your neshama.
The sandwiches might destroy our crops.

The DVD's will fill your mind with shmutz.
The Oranges will provide you to with the opertunity to do something for God by making a bracha.

If you're worried about our crops, דו ליגסט אין דרעק

69

 Aug 14, 2011 at 03:17 AM Anon Ibid Opcit Says:

Reply to #61  
stupid laws Says:

These laws are really stupid, because who eats infested produce anyway? Anyway no one tells bugs where they can or cannot go, so if they want to hitchhike a ride on a ship or a plane they can do so any time. How can a tuna or a deli sandwich cause a problem of insect infestation any how?

These laws are absolutely necessary. The whitefly, the apple maggot, the medfly, the gypsy moth, plant viruses, fungus spores, African snail eggs, soil bacteria and many other things have each caused billions of dollars of damage to forests and agriculture. All it takes is one speck of soil or a single vegetable to do this. That's why the USDA-APHIS is so strict.

70

 Aug 14, 2011 at 04:09 AM its called ABUSE Says:

Reply to #51  
Anonymous Says:

Your DVD's will only destroy your neshama.
The sandwiches might destroy our crops.

Is airport security good or bad?

a) we need security
b) they are taking away our freedom

problem with the above two is that it is cliche and shows how most pople don't really possess inteligence. Here's the real issue:

c) security is needed, but it is terribly abused by unqualifying TSA dummies.

The key here is ABUSE. This story is simply another one of the hundreds of cases of airport security abuse that take place everyday at every airport in every nation

71

 Aug 14, 2011 at 05:44 PM Anon Ibid Opcit Says:

Reply to #70  
its called ABUSE Says:

Is airport security good or bad?

a) we need security
b) they are taking away our freedom

problem with the above two is that it is cliche and shows how most pople don't really possess inteligence. Here's the real issue:

c) security is needed, but it is terribly abused by unqualifying TSA dummies.

The key here is ABUSE. This story is simply another one of the hundreds of cases of airport security abuse that take place everyday at every airport in every nation

Except that this is not abuse. If you read the comments from people who have actual knowledge of the issues you will understand why these laws are in place. It has nothing to do with "security" or "terrorism". It has everything to do with very real threats to agriculture. These laws were written because of many, many incidents where a single incident of contamination caused millions or billions of dollars in damage. They have to be strictly enforced. One piece of fruit with apple maggots could decimate the entire crop. One speck of dirt with the wrong soil bacteria or fungus could do worse. There are plenty of incidents where this sort of thing has happened.

The Customs service and USDA-APHIS are not the TSA. They are older, much more professional organizations. The requirements are much tougher starting with a minimum of a four year degree with preference given to candidates with advanced degrees and previous law enforcement experience. Their mission is much different. TSA is all about security theater. APHIS and C&I are about smuggling, biological contamination and other real problems.

72

 Aug 15, 2011 at 06:37 AM its called ABUSE Says:

I appoligize for confusing the educated APHIS with the uneducated TSA. But I still think their both an embarrassment for mankind.

And that includes the DEP along with a host of other government agencies. I recently made a barbecue with my family on a pick-nick table in a park, but a park officer wrote us a ticket for threatening the trees by risking a forest fire.
Yes that is called abuse, if not stupidity, and the same happened here. Don't give me the poor trees poor agriculture excuse.

And if your so educated, find me a single incident were harmful bacteria has spread from fruit in a carry-on. The problem is in commercial import, not in passenger travel. Quantity of a pathogen is just as important a factor as its identity, and the speck of dust in an apple is no anthrax threat.

But hey, it keeps people busy with something to be concerned about.

73

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