U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Contraband Room
John F. Kennedy International Airport
Queens, New York, 2007
94, 9 x 113,9 x 3,2 cm
plate: 16,6 x 11,4 cm
African cane rats infested with maggots, African yams (dioscorea), Andean potatoes,
Bangladeshi cucurbit plants, bush meat, cherimoya fruit, curry leaves (murraya), dried
orange peels, fresh eggs, giant African snail, impala skull cap, jackfruit seeds, June plum,
kola nuts, mango, okra, passion fruit, pig nose, pig mouths, pork, raw poultry (chicken),
South American pig head, South American tree tomatoes, South Asian lime infected with
citrus canker, sugar cane (poaceae), uncooked meats, unidentified sub tropical plant in soil.
All items in the photograph were seized from the baggage of passengers arriving in
the U.S. at JFK Terminal 4 from abroad over a 48-hour period. JFK handles the highest
number of international arrivals into the nation's airports and processes more
international passengers than any other airport in the United States.
Prohibited agricultural items can harbor foreign animal and plant pests and diseases
that could damage U.S. crops, livestock, pets, the environment and the economy.
Before entering the country, passengers are required to declare fruits, vegetables,
plants, seeds, meats, birds, or animal products that they may be carrying. The CBP
agriculture specialists determine if items meet U.S. entry requirements. The U.S.
requires permits for animals and plants in order to safeguard against highly infectious
diseases, such as foot-and-mouth disease and avian influenza. All seized items
are identified, dissected, and then either ground up or incinerated.
Inv. Nr. 2007/73
MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main
Gift of the artist
© Taryn Simon
Photo: Axel Schneider