Americans caught smuggling over 650 pounds of Fruit Roll-Ups into Israel
A classic candy has become so popular thanks to a TikTok trend that it’s spawned an international black market.
On May 1, Mako, an Israeli media and online news outlet, reported that two Americans were stopped at customs at Ben Gurion International Airport the previous weekend with four suitcases full of cloying contraband: Fruit Roll-Ups. The outlet states that both passengers had two suitcases each full of the cellophane-wrapped confection.
In an embedded video, officers can be seen sifting through at least three suitcases filled to the brim with the fruit leather-style candy. According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, a man in this video is being questioned about the candy claims in both English and Hebrew that the hundreds upon hundreds of Fruit Roll-Ups are for relatives in the country.
Another customs agent can be heard asking if the owner of the suitcases packed any clothes, and the man replies that he has clothes in Israel.
Amy Spiro, a journalist at the Times of Israel, tweeted another video showing the suitcases busting at the seams with the fruit-flavored snacks.
An American couple was caught trying to smuggle 375 POUNDS of Fruit Roll Ups into the State of Israel after prices skyrocketed once the snack became part of a viral TikTok trend.
Did you pack your bags yourselves and also are they full of exclusively candy? pic.twitter.com/GtGh76Z9n9
— Amy Spiro (@AmySpiro) May 1, 2023
“An American couple was caught trying to smuggle 375 POUNDS of Fruit Roll Ups into the State of Israel after prices skyrocketed once the snack became part of a viral TikTok trend,” Spiro wrote. “Did you pack your bags yourselves and also are they full of exclusively candy?”
And then, on May 4, Israeli news site Ynetnews reported that a second batch of Fruit Roll-Ups had been intercepted, this time through the mail system. The Israeli Tax Authority (which handles customs for the country) announced that 10 shipments of Fruit Roll-Ups from the U.S. were found by the Central Customs Unit at the Parcel Mail Sorting Center in Modiin, Israel.
רשות המיסים: נתפסו 157 ק"ג רולאפס שהוברחו ב-10 משלוחי דואר שוניםhttps://t.co/ek1DrmhXKF pic.twitter.com/C0doRyPoeb
— ynet עדכוני (@ynetalerts) May 4, 2023
Although the shipments were destined for different addresses in Israel, the boxes contained a “commercial quantity” of the candy, which is subject to taxes and other fees by law. The largest shipment contained 17 kilograms (about 38 pounds) of Fruit-Rollups, and a total of about 157 kilograms (or 347 pounds) was seized in all the shipments that came through the mail.
Between the two couples, according to the Times of Israel, customs officials have confiscated over 650 pounds worth of the sugary snack.
Fruit Roll-Ups have recently enjoyed a resurgence in popularity after a TikTok trend involving wrapping ice cream in the candy treat went viral.
Though the trend first popped up early in the year, folks still are buying up Fruit Roll-Ups in droves, enjoying the combo as a sweet, wrap-style snack that comes with a surprising crunch.
The craze has clearly made it to Israel, where demand for the candy has skyrocketed so much that stores are selling out of the candy and merchants are selling a single individually wrapped Fruit Roll-Up for $5 to $6 each.
It also has led to the Israeli Health Ministry to warn against eating the snack, saying that the candy could lead to weight gain, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease and dental caries. The ministry also linked to a recipe for cucumber rolls, suggesting it as a healthy alternative.
This article was originally published on TODAY.com