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Where does all the confiscated food go?


Kent Wang
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I dont know about customs officers, but I do have a contact who is a health inspector from a local council. She says it is funny how often on a Friday afternoon there is a decision to do a random purchase and testing of prawns from various outlets around town. They have a not-very-difficult way to guess of disposing of the batch of prawns after testing.

Then for a while recently there were all of the bottles of duty-free booze that people bought which they were then not allowed to carry on board. My husband had just returned from a trip and said the confiscation bins were full! Bet they didnt get trashed!

Edited by The Old Foodie (log)

Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

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Then for a while recently there were all of the bottles of duty-free booze that people bought which they were then not allowed to carry on board. My husband had just returned from a trip and said the confiscation bins were full! Bet they didnt get trashed!

Bet they did :raz:

does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

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Then for a while recently there were all of the bottles of duty-free booze that people bought which they were then not allowed to carry on board. My husband had just returned from a trip and said the confiscation bins were full! Bet they didnt get trashed!

Bet they did :raz:

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

"A good dinner is of great importance to good talk. One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." Virginia Woolf

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Everything that might harbor pests (fruit or other plant material) gets incinerated.  I don't know what happens to dairy or meat products.

...and yet, if you persist in calling your Szechuan Pepper by the name Prickly Ash, which in fact it also is, you'll probably get it into the country no probs... :wacko:

"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the ocean."

--Isak Dinesen

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Can't say what they do now, but I can tell a greusome, but true anecdote.

Some years ago a friend of mine was returning from a business trip to Europe. As a great lover of fine cognac he had paid a bunch of money for four, one liter bottles of really good stuff beyond VSOP.

At US customs they confiscated three out of the four bottles. He kicked up a fuss, offered to pay duty, begged ;all to no avail. He then remarked; "bet you guys are going to have a great party tonight" At that point the customs officer told him to come with him. They went into a back room where the customs guy proceeded to break the neck of each bottle on a nail over a sink, then pour the contents down the sink. With that he smiled & let my friend go on his way.

My friend was nearly in tears as he collected his luggage.

My other favorite customs story is about a US Embassy staffer stationed in Moscow in the bad old days.

About once a month the embassy would send a junior person to Helsinki to the Stockman department store to load up on Western foods that were unavailable in Moscow & too fragile for the bag. On this trip the young staffer had amongst other things a dozen nice ripe avocados

The Russian customs guy was very curious about the avocados having never seen one before. He decided that he had to confiscate them. As per instructions the embassy staffer made no fuss just let him take them. As she was leaving he asked; "by the way, how do you cook these?"

Her reply; " well, first you boil them for two hours......"

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Some years ago a friend of mine was returning from a business trip to Europe. As a great lover of fine cognac he had paid a bunch of money for four, one liter bottles of really good stuff beyond VSOP.

At US customs they confiscated three out of the four bottles. He kicked up a fuss, offered to pay duty, begged ;all to no avail. He then remarked; "bet you guys are going to have a great party tonight" At that point the customs officer told him to come with him. They went into a back room where the customs guy proceeded to break the neck of each bottle on a nail over a sink, then pour the contents down the sink. With that he smiled & let my friend go on his way.

My friend was nearly in tears as he collected his luggage.

My other favorite customs story is about a US Embassy staffer stationed in Moscow in the bad old days.

About once a month the embassy would send a junior person to Helsinki to the Stockman department store to load up on Western foods that were unavailable in Moscow & too fragile for the bag. On this trip the young staffer had amongst other things a dozen nice ripe avocados

The Russian customs guy was very curious about the avocados having never seen one before. He decided that he had to confiscate them. As per instructions the embassy staffer made no fuss just let him take them. As she was leaving he asked; "by the way, how do you cook these?"

Her reply; " well, first you boil them for two hours......"

the first story really upset me, but the second one made it all better :biggrin:

BEARS, BEETS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
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A few years ago I, inocently, brought some salumi from Rome on the plane to Atlanta with me. In fact, I noted them on the form that one fills out on the return to the USA. At customs I was directed to the Agriculture checker who took the salumi. When I asked what he was going to do with them he took me into a smallish room, turned on a huge grinder and tossed the package in.

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Is anybody besides me being reminded by this thread of the riotous food movie "A Private Function"? It's set in England arond 1946 when WWII is over, but food rationing is still in effect. It stars Michael Palin, Maggie Smith, and a contraband pig.

Edited to add that now I'm reminded of the I Love Lucy episode in which, Lucy and Ricky are returning from Italy on an airplane and Lucy is trying to smuggle a whole Provolone by disguising it as baby all wrapped up in a baby blanket.

Edited by Arey (log)

"A fool", he said, "would have swallowed it". Samuel Johnson

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As far as I know there is a large grinder which is capable of grinding up veg, fruits, meat, bone, etc somewhere on the airport premises. The grinder empties into a biohazard bag that is then incinerated. Alcohol is poured down the drain and the bottles are recycled after being broken. It would be ridiculous to believe that no skimming occurs, so yes, someone somewhere is having an awesome party at your expense.

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These horrid stories of waste have shattered my innocent view of the world. Now I know it is a cruel, merciless place.

Apart from recent events with liquids, the waste could easily be avoided. All you have to do is stop sneaking in the contraband. :wink:

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a contraband pig.

I'm kind of slow today, so when I read that, I was thinking of a live pig wearing clothes.

So how many of you have consumed your goodies before crossing customs? When returning from Hawaii, Mr. Duck and I finished off the bananas and other fruit that we bought at some roadside stand.

My friend told me that one time she and her family were given the option of either surrendering a few pounds of foie gras (in some shape or form) or eating it. They chose the latter, and had a nice picnic which they generously shared with travelers crossing customs that day.

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

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My sister's sister-in-law tried smuggling 6 jars of beluga caviar out of the old Soviet Union. The customs official (Russian) who rifled her bag said, "three for you, three for me," and openly kept half the loot. She then proceeded to France, where she loaded up her bag with stinky cheeses, a beautiful lump of foie gras, the beluga, some sausages made of god knows what, and then came to visit us. Got through US customs just fine. We were kind of torn by regret, thinking that there could have been more of that heavenly caviar, and gratitude that he'd left some for us. As she said, "if I knew he was going to take half, I'd have bought more."

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One of my favourite memories was arriving in the USA and in (the always slow non USA resident queue) saw an officer walking around with a beagle. It went past me (sigh of relief as I always feel guilty – did I miss some rule) and then sat down next to a hippy type character – I’m going to watch a USA style drugs bust I thought but it was cheese! Which was confiscated. I want to know where the warehouse is where they store the Epoise, you couldn’t hide it.

Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

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  • 3 weeks later...

having often smuggled cheese back from England and France the story of the beagle at JFK reminded me of one of our adventures.

we had bought out safeways for chocolate covered digestives, marmalades and chutneys but were also smuggling mature english cheddar and some wensleydale cheese. The beagle went nuts some where around us, but stopped next to a man from africa who also had lots of candy in his bag. The inspector kept asking him if he had yams - but of course not. We held our breath and they passed by us, at which point we picked our contraband bag of goodies up off the floor - on the next go around the beagle was sniffing nearby but the officer pulled him off and said, we've already checked this out. Another sucessful smuggle.

now interestingly enuf - the last trip hubby made home to the UK he was scheduled to fly back a few days after they caught the would be bombers and of course security was ultra tight and you could bring nothing on board, not even a newspaper or a bottle of water. He was allowed to pack cheese in his luggage, apparently they had changed the rules again and cheese was no longer contraband?? not sure if this was a fluke but that mature cheddar sure is lovely on toast.

Stop Tofu Abuse...Eat Foie Gras...

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Some of that is deliberate misdirection, and very useful it can be. I had a "friend" who came back thru JFK from Amsterdam with a wheel of Edam and a quarter-kilo brick of something that was not Edam. The cheese was confiscated and he went on his merry way.

This whole love/hate thing would be a lot easier if it was just hate.

Bring me your finest food, stuffed with your second finest!

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  • 5 weeks later...

On New Zealand television you can see the following ad for Vogel bread (a very common brand in New Zealand):

After a NZ-USA flight, the bread is confiscated at US customs.

Kiwi male traveller: "What are you going to do with my Vogel bread? It's for my girlfriend. She can't live without it."

US Customs officer: "Sorry, but we are going to have to incinerate it." (Picture shows Customs back room, with a toaster on the table). "Very slowly".

Kiwi traveller arrives empty-handed and speechless at Kiwi girlfriend's NY condo. She takes one look, understands, bursts into tears and pushes him away.

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Re the wheel of Edam and the brick of cheese-I thought hard cheeses were OK as opposed to soft cheeses?

What disease did cured ham actually have?

Megan sandwich: White bread, Miracle Whip and Italian submarine dressing. {Megan is 4 y.o.}

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regarding reefpimp's post, i thought the brick was referring to something a little more illegal that could get you 10 to 20 in a turkish prison!??? :shock::raz::wink:

And this old porch is like a steaming greasy plate of enchiladas,With lots of cheese and onions and a guacamole salad ...This Old Porch...Lyle Lovett

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Sometimes, they folks working customs even do you a favor:

This summer, I returned from Crete with a bunch of stuff; wine, honey, olive oil; most of it made by friends.

I'm at the airport and get pulled aside by a Cretian official. He opens my first bag and sees two of the bottles of wine. He asks how many I have in total and I tell him I have 8. The following exchange took place:

"You're only allowed to bring back two bottles"

"Really? (my face falls)"

He looks around

"So...How many do you have?"

"...two?"

"Have a nice flight"

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