Mark Steyn plumbs the depths of border security—so you don’t have to:
I am looking this bright Easter morn at a Department of Homeland Security “Custody Receipt for Seized Property and Evidence”. Late last night, crossing the Quebec/Vermont border, my children had two boxes of “Kinder Eggs” (“Est. Dom. Value $7.50?) confiscated by Customs & Border Protection.
Don’t worry, it’s for their own safety. I had no idea that the United States is the only nation on the planet (well, okay, excepting North Korea and Saudi Arabia and one or two others) to ban Kinder Eggs. According to the CBP:
Kinder Chocolate Eggs are hollow milk chocolate eggs about the size of a large hen’s egg usually packaged in a colorful foil wrapper. They are a popular treat and collector’s item during holiday periods in various countries around the world, including those in Europe, South America and even Canada. A toy within the egg is contained in an oval-shaped plastic capsule. The toy requires assembly and each egg contains a different toy. Many of the toys that have been tested by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in the past were determined to present a choking hazard for young children.
And yet oddly enough generations of European and Latin American children remain unchoked. Gotta love that “even Canada”, by the way: Is that an implied threat that Kinder Egg consumption is incompatible with participation in NORAD or membership of NAFTA?
The Food and Drug Administration has issued an import alert for Kinder Eggs, because they are a confectionery product with a non-nutritive object imbedded in it. As in years past, CBP, the Food and Drug Administration and CPSC work in close collaboration to ensure the safety of imported goods by examining, sampling and testing products that may present such import safety hazards. Last year, CBP officers discovered more than 25,000 of these banned chocolate eggs. More than 2,000 separate seizures were made of this product.
Let’s see – CBP, FDA, CPSC. I’m impressed it takes a mere three agencies from the vast alphabet soup of federal regulation to keep us safe from the menace of confectionery products with non-nutritive embeds.
As Janet Napolitano would say, the system worked. I hope America’s chocolate soldiers are enjoying their seized eggs this Easter.
Bonus prediction: What’s the betting that the first jihadist to weaponize a Kinder Egg makes it on to the plane?
PS My kids asked the CBP seizure squad if they could eat the chocolate in front of the border guards while the border guards held on to the toys to prevent any choking hazard – and then, having safely consumed the chocolate, take the toys home as a separate item. This request was denied. Could have been worse. Could have been a $300 fine, plus a $250 fee for seized-egg storage.
PPS The real choking hazard is the vise-like grip of government.
Lest you think he was joking about the fine and the storage fee.
Now, all of this would be little more than an amusing anecdote if I didn’t find this on the front page of the Boston Gob this morning (next to the bird poop, but who could blame him):
State officials failed to regularly inspect three-quarters of the escalators in Massachusetts shopping malls over the past three years, state records show, raising doubts about their safety in the aftermath of the horrifying death of a 4-year-old boy who fell from the top of an escalator that lacked a safety guard.
I can protect my children from chocolate eggs, but not so much from killer escalators.
Is it too much to ask from government—rhetorical question!—to stay the [bleep] out of matters where they have no business and to take care of matters where they do?
I wish I could say I look forward to the multi-part expose of patronage and corruption in the Department of Escalator Inspection—and Governor Patrick’s expressions of dismay and outrage—but I’m not. I’m tired of this [bleep].