After passenger told U.S. Customs agent that her suitcase once held a smashed banana, she was detained and added to a watch list

In Reader's Digest, Megan Kennett writes about the time a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent at JFK asked her if she was bringing any fresh fruit or vegetables into the country. Instead of truthfully answering "no" she said told the agent she had gotten rid of a smashed banana and that's why her suitcase might smell like a banana. As soon as she said that, "the agent stood up, took my passport, and then started to walk away, looking at me only once to say, 'Follow me.' That was it. No explanation, no going back."

She was taken to a holding room:

The banana police then brought me to what I like to call "agriculture jail," which is a holding room for the USDA. Here, as with the agent, no one spoke to me or explained what was happening—or gave me back my passport… After a while, an agent behind the desk called my name and handed me my passport. "Can you tell me what's going on?" I inquired. "Take your bags to the secondary agriculture check," was the reply. So, that was a "no."

Kennett was finally cleared to go when a more thorough search revealed that she was not in possession of a banana. But she says she was added to a watch list of banana smugglers and every time she traveled for the next year she and her family were escorted to "agriculture jail" and sent through secondary screening.

Photo by Alberto Bigoni on Unsplash