It’s a good thing this blog is anonymous or someone could report my husband and I to the FDA!
First, those food smuggling days are long over. The last time that we tried to bring back some cured Italian meats and dried porcini, we were hauled over to an inspection area and had our bags scanned inside a giant X-Ray machine. It was a random search but both of us got pulled aside! The dried porcini was vacuum-packed and hid inside clothing but of course this isn’t foolproof. While the machine scanned our luggage, I looked around for drug-sniffling dogs who might also have the sense to alert authorities to smuggled bresaola, speck and pancetta.
As if our own personal scare wasn’t enough, a friend coming from Italy tried to bring us various Italian delicacies only to have it confiscated at the airport. Luckily he wasn’t fined. Another acquaintance was not so lucky. He received a fine AND was red-flagged in their computer system, thereby insuring that his luggage will be searched for years and ending his food smuggling days.
As much as we love authentic Italian pancetta, speck, bresaola, porcini and other hard or impossible to find foods, we don’t want to risk a huge fine just for our culinary habits. Plus, I have a sneaking suspicion that travelers from Italy are classifed as ‘most likely to hide food in their suitcases’ by airport officials.
Has anyone ever tried to smuggle foods into this country? Were you or anyone you know ever caught?