Easter reminder: Kinder Eggs banned in the United States
April 21st, 2011
08:01 PM ET

Easter reminder: Kinder Eggs banned in the United States

Not all eggs are created equal in the eyes of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Kinder Eggs, a popular European chocolate egg that contains a toy inside, is banned from importation into the United States because it contains a "non-nutritive object embedded in it."

With the Easter holiday around the corner, the agency issued the reminder this week, warning that the candy is considered unsafe for children under 3. Last year, Customs and Border Protection seized 25,000 of them in 1,700 incidents.

The hollow egg, which is sold by the Italian confectioner Ferrero, is available in Europe, Canada, Australia and parts of Latin America under various names including Kinder Surprise and Kinder Sorpresa. It has taken on a cult status among adults who collect the toys, which vary from rings to animals and cartoon characters.

Kinder Eggs' scarcity in the United States has made them an object of desire: Various websites and online forums are dedicated to acquiring them.

Some are apparently hiding in plain sight. Earlier this week, DNAinfo.com, a New York City neighborhood guide, posted a story and slideshow showing stores where the coveted treats can be found.

"While there are some commercial-sized seizures that occur, most Kinder Eggs are seized in personal baggage or at mail and express consignment facilities," Customs and Border Protection said.

A Canadian woman reportedly learned her lesson the hard way.

The woman was selected for a random search at a border checkpoint in Minnesota when officials discovered she was carrying a Kinder Egg and took it from her, The Toronto Star reported.

A few weeks later, she received a 7-page letter asking if she wanted the egg back or if she was going to abandon rights to it, the Star reported.

"I was in disbelief," she told the newspaper. "It's a $2 egg."

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Filed under: Food • Holidays • U.S.
soundoff (690 Responses)
  1. Birgitt

    Seriously....Kinder Ueberraschung? But it's okay to bring Jawbreakers into this country, or even mail them....oh I forgot it's an American made item......Oh and of course NOBODY ever choked on a jawbreaker before? Seriously?

    This is a bunch of bologna that's all I have to say.....the chocolate covered egg has a bright, yes a bright yellow egg inside of it, and believe me you need both hands to open said yellow plastic egg to even get the toy out....Oh yeah, that's right if parents would actually watch their kids this would not happen.

    I have eaten those eggs since I was roughly 1....oh and what a shock I made it to turn 41 without ever choking on one of those eggs...mmmh. Oh and my son is almost 10, been eating them since about 1 as well....and oh no he is still alive and well. He never choked on one, or choked on the toy inside...mmmmh I guess we have been doing something wrong for all this time.....

    This is nuts, and just plain stupid!!

    April 22, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. SeverelyStraightforward

    I guess they are accounting for the fact our children are not that smart and will eat anything thus are overweight. Do not blame customs blame our educational system and McDonalds!!!

    April 22, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Annigirl

    I think it is interesting to read this – I love Kinder Chocolate and was appalled when I read this. I was trying to figure it out... Think about it – in the US, if you allow people to parent like idiots they will sue someone when their negligence hurts their own children. I was thinking this can't be the real reason – there has to be more. THEN I got to what I think is the real bottom of it all... I was in Safeway today in Colorado and found 2 Nestle brand eggs, almost IDENTICAL to the Kinder egg in size and they contain a treat. THAT friends is what I think this is about.

    Why allow us to spend our money on 100% foreign companies with no interests in the US when we the govvy can channel our money to a company paying taxes in America?

    Makes me sick!

    April 23, 2011 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      Nestle...? Swiss company,one of the largest firms worldwide and, I think, the biggest or one of the biggest food companies there is...so yes, it is protectionism and no, not for a us company but one with lobbyists in the right positions...

      April 23, 2011 at 5:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Gertrude

      To Annigirl and Patrick...
      how ridiculous - Nestle is Swiss. The eggs are not banned here in Switzerland. Maybe the big American firm, like Hershey® has something to do with it.

      April 23, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • runmom

      Actually, the Govvy channels plenty of money to companies who DON'T pay taxes ... GE probably being the largest.

      I think there are more urgent things to worry about in this country. I never got to eat Kinder chocolate growing up, even though my parents are from Germany (they didn't import to the US at all when I was a kid), but back in my day, if a kid fell down on the sidewalk the parents didn't sue the city – they told their kid to be more careful. If a kid choked on something, the parents didn't sue the manufacturer of the food – they told their kid to (a) take smaller bites or (b) don't put that kind of stuff in your mouth (depending on the situation).

      Government needs to GTFO of business and concentrate on the important stuff – like getting this country out of the enormous debt and deficit that the previous administratio left. Maybe then we'll not be the laughingstock of the globe anymore (and I was just in Germany visiting family last year, and yes ... we are the laughingstock on things like this).

      April 23, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • runmom

      Gertrude – of course they are not banned in Switzerland ... the Swiss government knows that parents are responsible for their own children and don't feel a need to step in unnecessarily.

      April 23, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mrs. Nieggerbaiter

    BAN PEACHES! They have pits! Morons.

    April 23, 2011 at 1:37 am | Report abuse |
  5. Gertrude

    What about all those surgary , crappy cereals they sell in the big US of A ... Kellogg's, Quakers, Kraft and so on.... aren't there little toys buried in all that "nutritive material"??

    April 23, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wowwie

      I don't think cereals are allowed to have toys anymore, for the same reason. This rule went into effect during the Chinese Lead-Based Toy scare a few years ago, when the government (in typical fashion) overreacted to a specific, limited safety issue (any of you read Freakonomics???). Now if we could just get them to overreact to other things (securities fraud, joblessness, blatantly false claims about harmful worthless herbal remedies, etc.)...

      April 28, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  6. RC

    Dang paper pushing bureaucrats. My did worked for Swiss Air, he would bring these thing over all the time when he visited. The toys while cheap were still fun and interesting, and the chocolate was good too. Ah, memories.

    Banning it cause it has a 'non-nutritive object embedded in it'? Hell why not twinkies, hostess cakes, blow pops, twix bars and any other kind of candy with some kind of crud in it while we're at it.

    Heck, Why doesn't the bl0w hard who passed this ban, pull the "non-nutritive object embedded" out from all the way up his 4th point of contact (Google, Airborne, points of contact)

    April 23, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. RC

    My Dad'

    April 23, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. runmom

    The trick is ... don't put them into your carry-on. Put them into your checked luggage – less chance of being searched.

    April 23, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Wm. Ewald

    For several years I have ordered Surprise Eggs from Canada (www.dutchmarket.com) and haven't had any problems. Maybe I've just been lucky with US Customs The packages are labled "Not for resale," but I enjoy giving them to neighborhood children and relatives on special occasions. I once attended a large wedding with a German theme, and the bride and groom put a surprise egg by every plate. It is amazing how adults enjoy the eggs, too. I've also brought in the eggs from Mexico and Germany, with no problems with customs, but again that may have just been luck.

    Long live surprise eggs. Their history is fascinating, and the manufacturer does a wonderful job of developing new toys to squeeze into those eggs.

    April 23, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Roni

    I don't get it. I have seen other items with a toy inside being sold all over the place (I live in California). Why are they blocking the sale of just these eggs? Does the manufacturer just need to put that stupid disclaimer that it's not intended for those under 3yrs old because for some reason some parents don't quite understand toddlers like to put things in their mouths. It's not drugs or anything. Where are those freedoms we are allowed?

    April 23, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jonathan D

    I guess Hershey's et al don't want US citizens to realize how horrible-tasting American chocolate is in comparison to what's available abroad!

    April 24, 2011 at 5:39 am | Report abuse |
  12. Leelen

    Theses are sad times we are living in when we have to protect ourselves from such a harmless item.

    My dad would bring these home from Germany for us. They are wonderful! Loved the toys inside!

    April 24, 2011 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  13. sander

    It's the soccer moms trying to keep everyone from getting hurt. Women should have never been given the vote

    April 24, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ivan

    Hahaha, thank God I have not been flying to USA for about 5 years.
    It is getting more ridiculous by the minute!

    April 24, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin G. in Texas

      I think that you're absolutely right. It hurts to see the country that I have loved acting less and less like a real leader. We are sacrificing our economy (costs of wars, cost and obstacles of pointless "security") to irrational fears. I advise my foreign friends to vacation somewhere else. If you want to avoid excessive taxes targeted at visitors and, more important, avoid being molested and hassled when you travel, stay away from U.S. until some sanity returns. But I think the Kinder egg ban has been in place for decades and probably stems from protectionism more than anything else.

      April 26, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mo

    I didn't know about this rule, so I just brought a metric dozen home for my kids. Border patrol in Germany 'threatened' to take them away – for themselves. There are big kids everywhere that love them – we just have to figure a way to get Congress to see them as essential items. Or, can I split the egg down the seem, take the toy out and then put the egg back together when I get here?

    April 25, 2011 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
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