What happens to contraband food that gets seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection? No, CBP agents don’t eat it on their lunch breaks and no, they don’t simply toss it in a dumpster.
U.S. customs supervisor Ellie Scaffa, who is basically the IRL Fruit Ninja, said John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) alone confiscated over 400 to 600 pounds of contraband food in just one terminal.
“I’ve been threatened…with voodoo over food. I’ve taken mangoes from passengers from Jamaica and been threatened…never a dull moment here in JFK,” Scaffa told Great Big Story.
Various types of food get tossed in the contraband bin: candy from China, salami from Spain and LOTS of avocadoes.
“The reason why we’re confiscating all this stuff is not because it’s harmful to human beings. It’s harmful for our plants and animals.”
Once a prohibited item is seized and place in a contraband bin, it makes its one-block journey across the terminal to meet its end in a grinding room. Customs officers first cut the fruit and vegetables to check for any insect entry/exit holes, and then it gets thrown in the grinder.
Scaffa enjoys the simple pleasures of confiscating food while battling the war against species one fruit at a time.
“Sometimes I go home with a little bit of mango juice and passion fruit juice on,” said Scaffa. “But this is what we have to do to protect the American agriculture.”
[Featured Image: YouTube/ Great Big Story]