By June Watanabe
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Oct 20, 2009
Question: Can you tell me what the rules are regarding flying to and from Hawaii with fruit? I recently went to the mainland. I thought that if I cut some mango to eat on the plane, it would be allowed since there was no peel and no seed. To my surprise, my plastic container of mango was confiscated at Honolulu Airport. The (Transportation Security Administration) guy told me that mango was only allowed out if it was frozen. But who wants frozen mango? I was in Portland, Ore., where there were so many really fresh summer fruit that we don’t grow here in Hawaii, like peaches and berries. But after my mango experience, I was afraid to bring any fruit home.
Answer: You can find travel and shipping information on what you can and cannot take out or bring into Hawaii at the state Department of Agriculture’s Web site, hsblinks.com/126.
There are links to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), which regulates what can be taken out of Hawaii; to Homeland Security (Customs and immigration), which regulates foreign fruits and vegetables; as well as to the state Agriculture Department’s information about what you are allowed to bring into Hawaii.
According to an official at the APHIS office at Honolulu Airport, you can’t take the majority of fresh fruits out of Hawaii. You either have to freeze or pickle the fruits. In the case of mangoes, you have to get rid of the seed as well.
If you have questions about what you can carry with you on an airplane leaving Hawaii, check the Web site hsblinks.com/vs or just call the APHIS office at 834-3220.
It’s a totally different matter if you’re bringing fruit back from the mainland. Basically, you can bring back most fresh fruits — apples, peaches, California oranges, berries, etc., as long as you declare and present them for inspection, according to a state agriculture spokeswoman.
Prohibited food items include pineapple and other bromeliad plants and fruits; passion fruit plants and seeds; citrus and pulpy fruits from Florida and Puerto Rico; coconuts; corn on the cob; cruciferous root vegetables (radish, turnip, daikon, horseradish, rutabaga); taro and dasheen; plants in the grass family, including sugar cane and bamboo; coffee plants and plant parts including seeds; and palm plants.