Customs dog sniffs out 600kg of banned food

Locked cars? No problem for the sensitive nose of this canine customs agent.

File picture of specially trained food dog Ainoa / Credit: Tulli Finnish Customs

A customs dog called Aino has sniffed out 600kg of banned food items so far this year.

Aino is the first dog specially trained to find prohibited meat and dairy products and she’s been deployed mostly on the Russian border.┬áHer role is to work with Finnish Customs Tulli agents, and stop food stuffs being illegally imported to the EU. These types of products could harbour infections diseases like African swine fever.

Most of the prohibited products are brought over the border by people who are not aware of the regulations – especially at holiday times when they want to bring local specialities back to Finland. Customs says there’s much less organised food smuggling going on.

Aino’s nose is so sensitive she can sniff out all types of meat and dairy – no matter how it’s been processed or packed. She was already able to detect an unopened can of tuna, locked inside a car.

Next year Aino will be moving to Helsinki Airport and work with another canine colleague to sniff out meat and dairy there from arriving passengers who are prohibited from bringing meat and dairy into the EU.