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A traveler setting off on a long international trip might take some fruit with him/her as a snack for the journey. The traveler may be aware that s/he is not allowed to carry that fruit past customs at his/her destination, but intends to have eaten the fruit before that. Suppose that (a) the traveler forgets or otherwise fails to consume the fruit or (b) does consume the fruit and is left with inedible seeds/core material. Not wanting to have any issues or hold-ups with border officials, and in the case of (b) not wanting to carry the discards anyway, the traveler discards the fruit or seeds in a trash can before reaching customs or passport control (maybe even on the airplane/ship/etc.).

Therefore, the traveler can truthfully declare s/he is not crossing the border with any fruit, seeds, etc.

However, the fruit or seeds are in the trash can at the airport/ship terminal/etc. or in the bags of trash taken off the arriving vessel. Is that material collected and sent to landfills along with other common garbage? If so, doesn't that at least partially undermine the stated purpose of the prohibition on bringing the fruit into the country?

Or, is refuse from the international side of an airport/ship terminal/etc. required to receive special treatment, such as incineration?

  • Anything seized by, or surrounded to, customs is typically incinerated. I would imagine that the same happens to the bins in the secure landing area. – CSM Mar 3 '18 at 17:33
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    You might want to go on Skeptics.SE to ask if the quarantine rules actually help protect the agricultural sector in the long term. But it's off topic for Travel.SE so I've removed the last part of your question – JonathanReez Mar 3 '18 at 17:49
  • @JonathanReez that question would only be on topic at Skeptics if someone has made a notable claim concerning the effectiveness of quarantine rules in protecting the agricultural sector. Speculation that a widely held belief nay be incorrect doesn't cut it. – phoog Mar 3 '18 at 18:17
  • I never understood these rules as applied to a traveller with a couple fruits, as it is illegal to enter them in the country, but it is legal to eat them in the spot and enter them inside you, to be "disposed" within the next few days, while still in said country. – Martin Argerami Mar 3 '18 at 19:44
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    @MartinArgerami: I suspect agricultural parasites and diseases typically would not survive a trip through your digestive system, so this case needn't be prevented as it doesn't pose a hazard. – Nate Eldredge Mar 3 '18 at 21:03
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This video from USDA APHIS describes the rules for disposing of "regulated garbage," which is the term in the USA for waste coming from international arrivals, and this article from the National Business Aviation Association summarizes some approaches taken by airports in the USA. The short answer is that the government of the USA takes this very seriously and requires that food waste be segregated from the usual waste stream and be sterilized or incinerated.

Canada appears to have similar rules, although it seems they also allow the waste to be placed in specially segregated landfills.

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