In Miami and surrounding areas, food trucks are big business. Low overhead and portability offer endless opportunities for success. However, all of this depends on owning a food truck. For many entrepreneurs, the economical answer to this problem is to purchase their trucks and trailers online from other countries. However, routine customs seizures by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers often cost potential business owners many thousands of dollars.
CBP officers work closely with dozens of government agencies, including the Department of Transportation, to help enforce laws that ensure the products entering the United States comply with federal safety laws. Unfortunately, many vehicles — including food trucks, imported from other countries — do not meet the same safety regulations or undergo comparable inspections required by U.S. law. For this reason, business owners may find themselves on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars for the following fees and other costs:
- Inspection of cargo fees
- Seizure fees
- Fees for the storage of the food cart
- The cost of disposing of a food card that allegedly does not meet U.S. safety standards
This does not include the money the business owner may have spent on the food truck and the loss of earnings from not having a vehicle from which to work. It is important for food truck business owners to know the laws for Florida and the federal level. Fortunately, those facing customs seizures that interfere with their ability to earn a living have the option of seeking legal counsel. An attorney with a history of success advocating for those who have issues with CBP can be a great asset.