A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture detector dog led to the seizure of nearly 16 pounds of unpasteurized cheese wrapped in unknown animal skins at Philadelphia International Airport last month.
While inspecting travelers from a flight that arrived from Turkey on Nov. 16, CBP agriculture K9 Potter alerted to a couple's baggage. During a secondary examination, CBP agriculture specialists discovered five tanned animal skins balled up and stitched closed. Inside they discovered 7.1 kilograms, or 15 pounds, 10 ounces, of soft cheese. The skins and cheese were prohibited without veterinary certification due to the skins being a potential carrier of animal diseases. The skins and cheese were destroyed.
CBP agriculture specialists observe increases in prohibited agriculture products during the holidays when foreign nations bring traditional meals and products to celebrate with family in the United States.
The couple, who CBP released, were destined to an address in Burlington County, N.J.
"Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists protect our nation from a variety of potential agriculture threats every day, including from these unfinished animal skins that may carry an economy-damaging animal disease,” says Casey Durst, director of Field Operations for CBP's Baltimore Field Office. "CBP agriculture specialists continue to exercise extraordinary vigilance in their fight to protect our nation's agriculture and economic prosperity from invasive pests and animal diseases."
CBP agriculture specialists perform a critical border security role in safeguarding America's agricultural and natural resources from harmful pests and plant diseases. They have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection. CBP agriculture specialists work diligently to inspect imported air and sea cargo and arriving international travelers every day to intercept pests and potential plant and animal diseases at our nation's international ports of entry.
During a typical day last year, CBP agriculture specialists across the nation seized 4,552 prohibited plant, meat, animal byproduct, and soil, and intercepted 319 insect pests at U.S. ports of entry.