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CBP intercepts over 55 pounds of ruminant noodles, swine sausage

CBP Rumiant Noodles Swine Sausages.jpg
CPB agriculture specialists in Los Angeles focus on identifying and seizing prohibited animal and plant products.

On May 4, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists found something unusual while examining an air mail shipment declared as "earphones" arriving from Malaysia. When they opened the box, they discovered 26 vials containing live centipedes concealed in earphone cases.

Just a week before on April 27, they had intercepted a shipment arriving from Hong Kong with 28.6 pounds of dried sea cucumbers declared as "dried food." On May 3, they stopped 15 unknown live propagative plants with soil, declared as "plastic flowers" arriving from China and recently on May 5, they discovered over 55 pounds of noodles with ruminant ingredient and swine sausage products manifested as "packaging box."

What do these four shipments have in common? They lacked the required official permits or certificates. These violations are a less-known form of contraband arriving every day from overseas in ocean containers and postal and express air mail to destinations all over the United States.

In fiscal year 2020, Los Angeles Field Office issued 2,695 Emergency Action Notifications compared with 4,665 in in fiscal year 2021, this represents an increase of 73% from the previous year. When unmanifiested/prohibited animal products are intercepted, CBP issues an EAN to initiate the destruction or re-exportation of the contraband.

"The illegal importation of plants and animal products could introduce foreign pests and diseases threatening the United States vital agriculture industry," says Carlos C. Martel, CBP director of Field Operations in Los Angeles. "These unprecedented numbers reflect the critical role of CBP's agriculture specialists in identifying and intercepting these shipments."

The live centipedes and the dried sea cucumbers shipments were referred to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for investigation and final determination. The FWS requires a license to trade in wildlife and possibly additional permits if the species is protected. 

The propagative plants, the ruminant noodles and swine sausages were destroyed under USDA and CBP supervision using steam sterilization.

"Unregulated animal products from overseas are in high demand and smugglers attempt to smuggle those products into the United States for profit without regard to consumer safety or potential damage to the agriculture industry," says Martel.

Many consumers are not aware of the importation restrictions.

Pork products from African swine fever-affected countries could introduce the virus to the United States, crippling the domestic pork industry and U.S. pork exports valued at $6.5 billion annually. 

Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset. 

TAGS: Biosecurity
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