If you're ready to be horrified by excessive waste, then watch this video about what happens to confiscated airport food. It will certainly make you think twice about attempting to take contraband on a flight, because if you get caught, whatever delicious items you had packed in your suitcase are going directly into the trash, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars. The video comes from Great Big Story, and it's a short documentary exploring "Where Illegal Food Goes To Die", delving behind the scenes at New York's JFK airport, where customs agents confiscate between 400-600 pounds of fresh food EVERY DAY from travelers entering the country.
Confiscations occur to protect the fidelity of US agriculture, so that diseases aren't spread through organic matter bought in from other countries. That obviously makes sense, but knowing that most crops and livestock are probably being protected by the measures doesn't make it any easier to watch airport staff casually destroying food. The video centers on Customs Supervisor Ellie Scaffa, who explains the process of disposing of confiscated food. Hopefully your disposition is strong enough to watch perfectly good food being trashed even though there are starving people in the world. Here's what contraband food disposal looks like at the airport:
1. First, Check Out All This Glorious Confiscated Food
There's a lot of it!
2. Ellie Scaffa Says She Receives Death Threats
It seems that confiscating someone's food at the airport is the fastest way to get on their list. You know hangry people, always trying to kill customs agents! Ellie says there's "Never a dull moment here at JFK!"
3. JFK Sees A Lot Of Travelers Go Through Its Terminals
And as a result, about 200-300 kilos a day of fruit and vegetable is confiscated at one terminal alone. Ellie says, "Every day is different, every season is different" when it comes to the types of foods that are being confiscated. Whenever this documentary was shot, it seems like it must have been right smack in the middle of avocado season.
4. Once Food Is Seized, It's Put In A "Contraband Bin"
The bin is then pushed across the terminal, which is about a block long, which Ellie says is where you "get a bit of exercise".
5. Officers Look For Entry And Exit Holes In The Food
Customs officials actively look for insects. No one is getting out of this situation alive.
6. The Food Then All Goes In A Grinder
Which is apparently a bit of a stress reliever for the agents. However, it's stress-inducing for me to watch, because that's all good food literally going down the drain. The answer? Better educate travelers not to attempt to smuggle food into the US. Leave your super green, perfectly ripe avocados at home next time.
Watch the entire video below:
Images: YouTube (7)