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Bring home a Kinder Surprise Egg and you could be fined $2500!

Bring these adorable Kinder surprise eggs over the border into the US and you risk being snagged by customs and running up a fine of up to $2,500 per illegal Kinder egg.  A dozen could theoreticaly cost you $30,000!

kinder surprise egg illegal chocolate souvenir
What could possibly be in these eggs, you may wonder, that would merit such a huge fine?

Blood diamonds?  Crystal Meth? 

Nope, Kinder Surprise eggs are considered contraband for US customs purposes because of this:

kinder surprise toy car eggs chocolate

This was the toy surprise inside my Kinder Surprise Egg.

No matter that the toy itself is first encapsulated in a rubbery plastic shell, making it extraordinarily difficult to eat by accident, rules are rules.  But for my non-US readers– those that live in countries where children don’t eat plastic toys– is the Kinder Egg even a worthwhile souvenir?

Kinder Surprise Egg– the Reveal

Kinder Eggs are made by an Italian company, but are available all over Europe (and Canada too).  So as not to run afoul of US Customs laws, I bought and opened my Kinder Egg at the airport in Gatwick.  I am providing a photo tour of the reveal, below:

Is the Kinder Surprise Egg worth the hooplah?

Admittedly, what intrigued me the most about the Kinder Egg was the forbidden factor.  And yes, it was a slight thrill to open the egg, anticipating the prize inside. The actual flavor of the chocolate egg was unmemorable.

As for the toy itself?  Although there are collectors who buy and trade Kinder toys, I personally wasn’t that impressed with my mini car surprise.  After “playing” with it for a few seconds, I put it away, lost it, and haven’t seen it since.

Have you ever bought a Kinder Surprise Egg?  Are there any candy souvenirs that are illegal in your country?  Share in the comments below!

Want to read more about illegal eggs? Check out these banned Mexican Confetti eggs (cascarones), a popular Mexican Easter tradition
cascarone eggs mexican confetti eggs illegal

Or read about what foods you can (and can’t) bring back from the supermarket!

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40 Responses to Bring home a Kinder Surprise Egg and you could be fined $2500!

  1. Tripping Blonde 01/22/2014 at 9:15 am #

    The real Kinder Surprise for Americans is the $2500 fine upon returning home after your vacation when US Customs finds it in your bag. I definitely think they are cute souvenirs for children, but I certainly don’t want a supersize Kinder surprise from US Customs, so I’ll just continue to buy stuffed animal souvenirs for my little friends. BTW, I love your surprise – a red convertible!

    • Kristin Francis 01/22/2014 at 9:37 am #

      haha nice pun! They sell them at every airport too and there’s no indication anywhere that you can’t bring them back to the US, it’s one of those things you just need to know about.

      • trizze 04/05/2014 at 9:35 pm #

        lol – why would there be any indication that you can’t bring them back to the states? I don’t find many indications anywhere of what I can’t bring into my country either…

      • Kristin Francis 04/05/2014 at 10:19 pm #

        Thanks for commenting! Yes you’re totally right– there shouldn’t be any indication elsewhere about their banned status in the US. US Customs should do a better job of publicizing it– it always comes as a big surprise to people when they find this out! Stay tuned I’m going to be doing a comprehensive posts on items that are banned in other countries– not just the US. What country are you from?

      • Anonymous 07/10/2014 at 12:19 am #

        thats a lot of money /:

  2. alikzeller 01/22/2014 at 12:13 pm #

    We brought a few back with us from Italy and had no problems at all! Maybe because we only had a few and they went undetected…

    Growing up I had a friend whose father would bring loads of them back from overseas trips, every time I think back to those eggs I laugh realizing how impossible they would be to exist in the US.

    • Kristin Francis 01/22/2014 at 4:20 pm #

      Thanks so much for your comments!
      Unless you get your bags rifled through, I’m not sure how they would find them (or if they are actively looking for them– I’m sure there are more important things to attend to!) But I don’t mess with US customs! That’s hilarious that he brought so many eggs through– I’m sure he had no idea either, who would ever think of it?

      • TanZL 05/17/2014 at 1:12 am #

        I have bought them. I have collected all the cars except for the red one you have above. Still hoping that I would be able to get it.

      • Kristin Francis 05/18/2014 at 8:17 am #

        If I knew where that little car disappeared to, I would send it to you so you could complete your collection!

  3. sueslaght 01/22/2014 at 7:40 pm #

    Kristin you really don’t have these in the US? They are such standard fare in Canada. Almost a universal tradition for stocking suffers at Christmas.

    • Kristin Francis 01/23/2014 at 2:56 pm #

      No, they would have been fun to pull out of a stocking for sure! I didn’t even know what it was until recently.

    • Shawn McCarthy 05/31/2014 at 6:11 am #

      Where could I buy them around Niagara Falls, Ontario?

      • Kristin Francis 05/31/2014 at 11:49 am #

        They are legal in Canada– try a well-stocked drugstore or candy aisle of the grocery store?

  4. fingknitcoolgal 01/23/2014 at 6:29 am #

    OMG! Are they serious?! It sounds like a joke to me. I shall tell anyone who may travel to US with toys and sweets. $2500! Unbelievable…

    • Kristin Francis 01/23/2014 at 2:58 pm #

      Silly huh? Hopefully that’s a scare tactic and not regularly enforced, but better safe than sorry– it’s the combo of the toy inside the sweet that makes it potentially “hazardous”.

  5. Rolling Harbour 01/23/2014 at 4:13 pm #

    “Elf ‘n’ Safety gone mad”, as we say in the UK. I hope the fines for bubblegum (potential choking hazard), McDonalds Fries (sharp and pointy – possible mouth injury) and Barbie Dolls (synthetic hair – massive fire hazard if held over naked flame) are as high… RH

    • Kristin Francis 01/23/2014 at 5:23 pm #

      haha love it! Yep they restrict little chocolate eggs, but no worries because they allow in tons of chemicals banned in the Europe! Always looking out for us. : )

  6. Raphael Alexander Zoren 02/02/2014 at 11:48 am #

    I didn’t know about that! Interesting facts about customs in the US! :o

    • Kristin Francis 02/02/2014 at 12:22 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by! It’s hard to keep up with all the customs rules, especially unusual ones like this.

  7. Chasing the Donkey 02/07/2014 at 7:20 pm #

    Hmm… shall I post you a few and see if they get through. YOu can sell them on the black market..

    • Kristin Francis 02/08/2014 at 9:25 am #

      Haha!! God only knows what kind of crazy fines are waiting if you use US federal mail to smuggle them! No one here has really heard of them so demand would not be high!

  8. Travelling King Blog 02/08/2014 at 7:31 am #

    That is ridiculous! Hilarious but ridiculous!!
    Cant imagine for being fined for such a thing!

    • Kristin Francis 02/08/2014 at 9:23 am #

      I suspect they’re looking for importers but who knows? I saw a recent update on the US customs site warning about them, so maybe they’re trying to publicize it more.I can’t even imagine an unwitting tourist dropping a dozen in their bag!

  9. Wow – I had no idea they were illegal! I brought some home last year after a trip to Paris in March. They were perfect for Easter — my girls LOVED opening them up and getting to the toy. Who’da thunk I was such a rebel-law-breaker?! BTW – crazy as it might be, my girls survived unscathed without any choking incidents! haha!

    • Kristin Francis 02/17/2014 at 11:20 am #

      Thanks for sharing Connie! Shocker, I thought only European children were smart enough not to swallow the little toy– you must have some rare American geniuses there! It seems that if they want to make these illegal they should publicize it more, like a big no Kinder Eggs in the customs area! I only randomly came across this myself.

  10. Escape Hunter 05/17/2014 at 5:52 am #

    It’s stupid to ban the Kinder eggs, it’s also hilarious!
    Anyone could swallow anything.
    Shouldn’t anything small be banned? Like: anything that “could be”, “may be”, “might be” swallowed?
    Terribly high fines – gosh, did I read 2,500 $ per egg?

    • Kristin Francis 05/18/2014 at 8:16 am #

      I agree this is the silliest rule ever!

  11. Anonymous 06/25/2014 at 10:47 pm #

    They sell Kinder Eggs at International stores in St. Louis MO and Chicago IL. Wow this is very wired and good to know thanks for the post

    • Kristin Francis 06/26/2014 at 8:09 am #

      I think a few places do it on the sly…but they are definitely still illegal!

  12. Lori 07/01/2014 at 6:14 pm #

    My brother sent a box of about 100 Kinder Eggs to my kids about 12 years ago. I had no idea they were illegal. I don’t know how they got through, but there was no problem. The kids enjoyed them for quite a while and all 3 survived. One of them is currently in Germany, and I asked him to bring some home for his 5 year old brother. That’s when we came across this information about the fines. Bizarre!

    • Kristin Francis 07/01/2014 at 10:26 pm #

      100 illegal Kinder eggs!! Glad to hear your kids made it through! : ) Thanks for sharing!

  13. Felicia 07/03/2014 at 12:51 pm #

    Bummer! ! My daughter is now touring London and will leave for Paris tomorrow. She bought one yesterday. Guess she will have to eat it before she comes home. :/

    • Kristin Francis 07/03/2014 at 5:22 pm #

      Probably a good idea in this heat wave the chocolate won’t do well! But she can bring the toy back separately!

  14. Angela 07/06/2014 at 12:42 pm #

    They aren’t actually illegal, they are banned. You can bring some back for “personal use” but you are not allowed to sell them or distribute them. I had a run in with customs over about 50 eggs a few years ago and they ended up letting me keep them since I was trying to finish my shrek collector set of toys and I had no intentions of reselling them. It probably helped that I knew the actual history of why kinder eggs were banned in the US. etc.

    • Kristin Francis 07/07/2014 at 9:36 am #

      Hi Angela, thanks for commenting! That’s great that you were able to get (50!) eggs in! In my reading of the guidelines, I don’t see anything allowing kinder eggs for personal use– this seems to suggest even for personal use they’ll be seized: http://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/2012-03-23-040000/cross-border-travelers-are-reminded-kinder-egg-ban. This from the CBP site specifically addresses personal use: “The trend in personal use Kinder Egg seizures in Vermont is on the rise and this chocolate egg isn’t just prevalent during the holidays anymore,” said Assistant Area Port Director James McMillan. “In fact, CBP officers in St. Albans have seized Kinder Eggs in 38 separate incidents in 2011 alone from cross-border travelers and our officers have been seeing more and more of these particular seizures throughout the year.”
      Personally, I wouldn’t risk it just to bring home an egg. I hope to interview a customs official for a future article so I’ll ask again to see if there are any exceptions.

  15. Elyz 07/10/2014 at 12:43 pm #

    Please do Kristin. I am currently in Europe on a business trip and i was completely shocked to learn that those kinder eggs are banned in the states. I was planning to bring a few of them for my daughters before learning about the banned item.its too bad though. Its so tempting and they are everywhere here. However,i came accross another type of kinder eggs,the kinder joy.Apparently its a half chocolate and half toy and entirely seperate..not like thr kinder surprise where the toy is inside the chocolate egg. I wonder..

  16. AMIRAH 07/25/2014 at 3:57 am #

    OMG!!! 2500 I want buy but,i from malaysia . At theMalaysia, it has kinder joy

  17. Anonymous 07/26/2014 at 11:14 am #

    They actually lifted the ban in 2013. It is now legal bring them into the US

    • Kristin Francis 07/26/2014 at 11:25 am #

      This is incorrect, the FDA reg still stands. If you found this via google, it’s a Gawker story where an American came up with product called a choco egg– but this has nothing to do with Kinder Eggs.

  18. Lynsey Betz 08/02/2014 at 3:58 am #

    My mum sends these from Scotland to the us all the time for my 3 year old.

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