Many travelers keep a supply of healthy snacks, such as fresh fruit, with them for their journey. In general, this is a fine idea because having a fresh apple or orange will help you to stay healthy and avoid the temptations of the gas station goodies. However, some states, such as Florida and California, have restrictions in place that prohibit bringing certain kinds of fresh fruits into the state.
Individual states set their own restrictions on the importation of fresh fruit from other states. As of 2011, California, Florida and Texas have restrictions in place against importing certain types of fruits, such as citrus fruits or berries, from other states. To this end, Florida has set up 23 agricultural inspection stations along its state highways to inspect commercial and private vehicles. Other states more typically inspect commercial carriers but a police officer may question you if you are stopped. Violation of a state's import rules can result in a fine in addition to confiscation of the fruit.
Purpose of Restrictions
The reason why these states prohibit the importation of some fresh fruits from other states is to avoid spreading diseases that could threaten the state's agricultural industry. Florida's agricultural industry, for example, makes several billion dollars annually, according to their Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services website. For example, citrus fruits are especially vulnerable to disease, which is why the United States Department of Agriculture has urged Americans to not move citrus trees or fruits off their property. California, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida all have problems with citrus diseases.
If You are Traveling
If you are moving across state lines or travelling, check the state's regulations on the importation of fresh fruit. The best place to find this information is on the state's department of agriculture website. If the state has import restrictions for your chosen fruit, avoid bringing that kind of fruit with you on your trip. If you have a hankering for the fruit, you can probably purchase it at a roadside stand, farmers market or the supermarket in your destination state instead of packing it with you. This will save you time and trouble.
Fruit as a Gift
If you are carrying fruit into another state as a gift, such as in the case of a fruit basket or a bag of fruit, make sure that you keep it in its original packaging. The USDA may confiscate fruit that is not in its original packaging because they cannot ascertain the fruit's place of origin. If the fruit is not labelled with its origin, save your receipt to demonstrate where your purchased it in case you are asked at the airport or by a police officer if you are pulled over.