When Lind Bird was recently stopped at the U.S. border and selected for a random search of her vehicle, she was surprised to learn that a $2 piece of candy could net her a whopping $300 fine. At issue was a Kinder Surprise egg -- a chocolate egg that contains a small plastic toy inside.
When customs officials discovered the Kinder candy in her car, Bird says it was confiscated. She was warned that the small candy is illegal in the United States and was considered "contraband."
The children's candy has been banned in the United States because officials worry small children could choke on the small toy inside it.
"It's just a chocolate egg," Bird told CBC News. "And they were making a big deal. They said 'if you were caught with this across the border you would get charged a $300 fine,'" she said.
"It's ridiculous. It's so ridiculous," she added.
The candy is perfectly legal in Canada, but the U.S. takes the domestic ban on the chocolate treat very seriously. CBC reports that U.S. border officials have seized more than 25,000 Kinder eggs in 2,000 separate seizures.
Mike Milne, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the candy ban is supported by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. "They have been determined to present ... a choking hazard to young children," he said.
In addition, the U.S. government sent Bird a seven-page letter asking for her formal authorization to destroy her seized Kinder egg.
"I thought it was a joke. I had to read it twice. But they are serious," she said.
If Bird wishes to contest the seizure, the letter notes that she can pay $250 for the egg to be stored until a compromise can be hammered out.
In case you're curious, a comprehensive list of items Canadians can't import into the U.S. can be found here.