In an increasingly globalised world with packages travelling to all corners of our planet, restrictions on what can and cannot pass through international borders can get pretty confusing and in these nine cases, really quite bizarre. Sure, guns, poisons and their kin is common sense but some countries have some very peculiar rules. For example, Nigeria once banned wheelbarrows and the States has a rigid ban on the Kinder egg. Here are ParcelHero’s top nine weird customs regulations…
The Pilgrims of Fiji have been subject to a rather unholy restriction on the amount of holy water they can bring back with them from a pilgrimage. Any holy water that exceeds one pint and is not accompanied with a certificate that confirms it is disease free will have their godly water immediately impounded at the airport. This is primarily due to controlling the spread of water borne diseases like ‘cholera, typhoid, and paratyphoid germs’ in Fiji’s water supply.
At some point Nigeria has pretty much banned everything from being imported into its sunny nation as it tries to prevent smuggling and boost its own manufacturing industry. This means you can’t import chocolate, toothpicks, toothpaste, ball point pens and gaming consoles but perhaps strangest of all, the Nigerian government once banned wheelbarrows. What a carry on.
The 6,000 strong village of Vendargues in southern France has banned clown costumes due to a wave of panic caused by pranksters dressing up as evil clowns. The ban is particularly enforced on Halloween, to ‘protect children by preventing any ill-intentioned clowns from mixing with residents’. The whole of France has reported incidents, prompting nationwide anti-clown vigilantism that has even got the Gendarmerie involved. So, no clown costumes in Vendargues, and maybe soon the whole of France?
The City State of Singapore is on a mission to promote public cleanliness and all round politeness and has banned chewing gum since 1991. This means the chewy stuff can’t be imported, sold or consumed, and if anyone is found doing any of the aforementioned offences, large fines are automatically applied. In Singapore, no-one is forever blowing bubbles.
The humble Kinder Egg, enjoyed by millions of children worldwide due to their chocolatey deliciousness and little toy delights is currently under a federal ban by the United States government. This is due to it being considered a ‘choking hazard’ and anyone found trying to import one may face a surprising fine of up to $2,500 per egg. A family trying to import 10 Kinder eggs into the US from Canada were fined a total of $12,000. Now we know chocolate can be expensive but…
Toothpaste & Dental Products
Algeria has a ban on all dental products entering the country. This is probably down to the unpopularity of fluoride, which has been deemed poisonous and harmful by some nations. Dental items like toothpaste use fluoride as a primary cleaning agent, but companies like Colgate who are popular in the UK have had their items banned in countries like Algeria. Smiling however is allowed.
Saudi Arabia has banned quite a few things in its short life as a unified nation. From music in shopping centres to birthday cards that play music, the Saudi authorities like their noise levels low and their sun sky high. Their campaign against noise has led to a ban on all loud or noisy goods, which includes car horns. So how do Saudi’s vent their spleen when stuck in a traffic jam?
The highly adorable and weirdly human mouthed Japanese Pufferfish is banned across the European Union due to its highly toxic organs. The famously puffy fish isn’t strictly banned in the US and elsewhere, as long as the (hopefully expert) chef preparing the dish is licensed. One wrong fillet and deadly toxins, if consumed, will lead to asphyxiation and death. Unless you are a risk-taking culinary daredevil, we say there are plenty more fish in the sea.
Your shoes are no match for South African, Mexico and Indian customs. A strange law, but all three countries have banned the import of matching shoes. All three have subsequently attempted to gain a foothold over their own shoe market by banning the import of shoes, but only pairs. Don’t worry personal shoes should be fine…
If you are sending a parcel and want to know some important do’s and don’ts, check out ParcelHero’s list of prohibited items. Have you encountered any strange import regulations on your travels? Let us know.