This Is What Happens to Your Confiscated Food at the Airport

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

Have you ever brought a food souvenir back from your travels only to have it confiscated at the airport? Security usually throws it into a large bin with all the other food items that have been deemed illegal. But what happens after that? At JFK – one of New York City’s airports – it’s a pretty fascinating job.

In the video above you can see that U.S. customs supervisor Ellie Scaffa gets a lot of grief from travelers when their food is taken away. The food that comes into her possession ranges from mangos from Jamaica to beef snacks from China. She’s seen it all.

At JFK the bin of contraband food is delivered to a special room at the airport for disposal. An officer will inspect the food for insects, and then tosses it down the grinder. It might seem like a waste, but Scaffa reminds us that it’s necessary to protect American agriculture.

Read more: This Is Where Illegal Food Goes to Die from Great Big Story