Montreal

Kinder Surprise egg seized from Eastern Townships man at U.S. border

An Eastern Townships man was stunned to find that the Kinder Surprise eggs he bought as gifts in Canada were considered illegal contraband once he crossed the United States border.

Louis-Philippe Hebert didn't realize chocolates he bought for his grandson could result in $300 fine

Louis-Philippe Hebert from the Eastern Townships didn't know the Kinder Surprise eggs he bought for his godson in Boston were considered illegal contraband in the U.S. (brandoncripps/Flickr)

An Eastern Townships man was stunned to find that the Kinder Surprise eggs he bought as gifts in Canada were considered illegal contraband once he crossed the United States border.

Louis-Philippe Hebert was on his way from Cleveland, Que., which is situated between Sherbrooke and Drummondville, to visit his godson in Boston for Easter weekend.

Hebert and his husband bought several gifts to bring along, including two large Easter-edition Kinder Surprise eggs so his godson could build the toys inside.

"He loves Legos and he's always playing and creating things," Hebert said.  

'We didn't know'

The couple arrived at the Derby Line—Stanstead border crossing in Vermont with a foreign-exchange student from Mexico they were sponsoring.

"We travel often and we go through that little border very often so we knew that travelling with her we'd have to stop and fill some paperwork."

We didn't know we had an illegal item in the car.- Louis-Philippe Hebert

But Hebert and the other travellers forgot to do one crucial thing.

"We didn't declare the eggs. Usually we don't declare chocolate," he added.

Just as the border officer was about to let them go, he asked if he could search their car.

"We said, 'No problem,' because in our heads we didn't know we had an illegal item in the car," he said.

Hebert and the other passengers were confused to see the officer approach them, Kinder Surprise in hand.

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The border officer told Hebert the chocolates weren't allowed in the U.S., not even in an American trash can — he had walk to the Canadian side of the border to throw them away.

"When I got to the Canadian side, they weren't surprised," Hebert said.

In a last ditch effort to save the chocolates, Hebert tried giving them way.

"I offered the eggs to the Canadian agents but they're not allowed to take anything."

Hebert's Kinder Surprise eggs eventually landed in a trash can on Canadian soil.

Louis-Philippe Hebert (right) with his husband and godson in Boston during Easter Weekend. (Submitted by Louis-Philippe Hebert)

Chocolate in Canada, choking hazard in U.S.

Hebert said he now knows Kinder Surprise eggs are considered a choking hazard in the U.S.

"The Food and Drug Administration banned confectionery products that contain non-nutritive components such as small toys or objects," said U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman Yolanda Choates.

Hebert isn't the only one who missed that memo — Choates said travellers crossing the U.S. border with Kinder Surprise eggs and other banned products are particularly common during the holidays.

"For us, we find it a bit weird because they're sold everywhere," Hebert said, adding that "it's written on the eggs that it's not for three-year-olds and under."

Though Hebert may not agree with the U.S. on just how dangerous the popular chocolate may be, he says he's learned his lesson and was lucky to walk away fine-free.

"It was a first offence and I learned after that I could've been charged up to $300 per egg."

With files from CBC Daybreak

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