My son has spent the last six weeks in Salamanca, Spain. We were talking with him on Facetime last Friday, and he was telling us about the Kinder Egg: a chocolate candy egg with a toy hid inside. He loves them and planned on bringing some back to his siblings, but learned that they’re banned in the United States and he could face over $1,000 in fines. I said, “Alex, get real. Even our increasingly-overreaching government wouldn’t pass a law that prohibits people from bringing back a couple of candy eggs.”
I was wrong. Our government has banned such candy since 1938 and it takes the Kinder Egg threat very seriously. I found stories like this at numerous spots throughout the Internet:
The import and sale of Kinder Eggs has been illegal in the United States since 1997, when the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced that the small parts in Kinder Egg toys were dangerous to children under the age of three. At the time of this recall, there had been no reports of any injuries from the eggs.
Additionally, Kinder Eggs are illegal in the U.S. by way of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938, which outlaws candy with any object embedded that doesn’t serve a function, unless the FDA provides a specific exception. . .
Normal consumers may see this as an arbitrary distinction and one of those laughable, antiquated government rules. Yet the implementation of the ban is no laughing matter. Those who attempt to bring Kinder Eggs through U.S. customs, either knowingly or unwittingly, will not only have their candies confiscated, but they are subject to hefty fines. For instance, two Seattle men who tried to bring a half dozen of the eggs back from a trip in Canada last summer were told by U.S. border agents upon confiscation that each of the eggs was subject to a $2,500 fine. While the men were released without having to pay the fine, this story shows the lengths to which the U.S. government will go to keep these eggs out of the country — and this tale is only one of many. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, more than 60,000 Kinder Eggs were seized from baggage and international mail in fiscal year 2011.
The mind boggles at the layers of wrong: the waste of people’s time in line at airport customs, the use of adults’ time and money on candy eggs under any circumstance, the diversion of resources to something so petty when we’re told the risk of terrorist activity at airports is high, the arbitrary restriction on freedom, the bureaucratic leviathan that steamrolls such outrages across the citizenry.
Since this restriction came into play in 1997, we’ve had Democrat and Republican presidents, Democrat and Republican congresses. You tell me it makes a big difference who wins our elections. This is just example number 1,990,299 of how the differences between the two parties, though real, are in the big picture negligible.Bookmark it: del.icio.us | Reddit | Slashdot | Digg | Facebook | Technorati | Google | StumbleUpon | Window Live | Tailrank | Furl | Netscape | Yahoo | BlinkList
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