Specially trained dogs at O'Hare track down banned fruit, vegetables and bugs

There is a specially trained agent at O’Hare Airport who is sniffing out contraband, and Jarvis takes his job seriously.

He is tasked with making sure no banned food makes it into the US, because just one insect could endanger our crops here.

Sarah Delziet and her beagle Jarvis are partners, working on the floor at O’Hare. Their goal is to stop any prohibited fruit, plant or meat items from getting into the United States.

“To the general public, it kind of just looks like I'm walking my dog, throughout the day,” Delziet said.

The team walks up and down international arrival areas while Jarvis sniffs out the contraband.

“They're initially certified on five odors - apple, citrus, mango, beef and pork,” Delziet said. “It's a nice, cute friendly way to say - hey this is a prohibited item.”

Delziet says they find at least one prohibited item on every international flight. Sometimes, it might be families that forgot about the apple in their backpack. Other times, it can be folks trying to smuggle in forbidden food.

“I had a person try to smuggle sausage into an umbrella,” Delziet said. “I've heard - my pregnant daughter-in-law needs to eat this fruit for a healthy baby.”

The response to Delziet and Jarvis depends on what they find.

“Surprised, some think it's cool, shocked, some are mad, I've had irate passengers, I've had people try and take things back from out of my hands,” Delziet said.

A big “no, no” is bugs. Even the tiniest foreign insect could destroy crops or livestock here in the states.

“A lot of these are pretty bad insects that could wreak havoc on American agriculture if it gets to the general public,” Delziet said.

First time offenders pay a $300 fine, and it is much more for global passengers who are supposed to know better.

Bottom line is they do not expect you to know what is allowed and what is not, so just declare it.

“If a dog is sitting by your bag, there's something in there. The dogs aren't wrong,” Delziet said.