Here’s What Happens to Illegal Food That Gets Confiscated at US Customs

By Mike Pomranz |

With the holiday season coming to a close, not only are tons of people traveling back home, but many are traveling with recently received gifts. And if your holiday plans took you outside of the United States, you should be dilige: If ntyour stocking was full of produce, you might be flying with contraband.

So though this new video from Great Big Story is fitting all year long, it’s especially relevant right now. The YouTube channel took a look at what happens to food items that get confiscated by US Customs at New York City’s JFK airport. The answer? They end up in the grinder. Mangos, avocados, serrano ham: It doesn’t matter. If it’s coming into the country illegally it all turns into a not-very appetizing multicultural milkshake.

Of course, destroying perfectly good foodstuffs just because the US doesn’t like where it came from might sound like a waste, but it’s done to protect American agriculture from outside threats like pests and disease. That means the real onus to stop waste is on travellers. Make sure you know what you can and can’t bring back to the US. And if you’re unsure, just eat your cured meats in their country of origin so you don’t have to worry about it. 

Related: America Needs to Stop Wasting Its Food 
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