Gawker rather downplays the latest edition of Masterpiece Security Theatre, in which an innocent german teenager is harassed for possession of a sandwich. He had packed the sandwich in his bag, forgotten about it, and ticked the "nothing to declare" box on his form. The punishment for this mighty crime? A fine of $300. "He lied on an official document!" the snide voiceover snarls. Well, the US customs form is a little misleading on this matter. The relevant question reads
"Are you bringing with you:
a. fruits, plants, food, or insects?
b. meats, animals, or animal/wildlife products?
c. disease agents, cell cultures, or snails?
d. soil or have you visited a farm/ranch/pasture outside the United States?"
"Fruits, plants, food or insects" -- well, "food" is a pretty catch all term to be buried away in this list. But put next to fruits, plants and insects, makes it confusing. Are they referring to some special kinds of food? Why not just say "food" if that's what they mean? Given that I've brought in packaged snacks (quite often, ones that I bought in the US to begin with), and just been waved through without further question, what does this really mean?
Maybe just to be safe, I'll tick all these boxes. I mean, there's bound to be a few microns of soil stuck to the bottom of my shoes. And which of us isn't carrying billions of "disease agents" without realising it? I know I am.