A bustling travel season is in full swing, and while we’re all familiar with the airport security screening process, it can still be easy to make a mistake when an open water bottle or piece of fruit gets forgotten in your backpack.

But what happens to these food items after they’re confiscated? These airport checkpoints don’t exist simply to inconvenience you, but rather to protect our American agriculture from threat.

In a video by Great Big Story, U.S. customs supervisor Ellie Scaffa tells the story of what happens to these illegal imports down the line — and no, the TSA staff doesn’t get to sit around feasting each evening.

“I’ve been threatened with my life,” she says about her efforts at New York’s JFK Airport where she personally sorts through up to 600 pounds of illegal produce per day.

All confiscated goods, whether it be Chinese beef candy or Jamaican mangoes, get manually inspected for bugs and disease before they are ground up in a sink to ensure no bugs survive or make their way out of the airport.

Check out this behind-the-scenes style video and see what goes on after TSA insists you toss your snack in the trash.


For healthy snacks and pantry items, visit everybodycravespantry.com

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Meghan is a full-time writer exploring the fun facts behind food. She lives a healthy lifestyle but lives for breakfast, dessert and anything with marinara. She’s thrown away just as many meals as she’s proud of.