At an Express Consignment Operations hub near Minneapolis – Saint Paul International Airport, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists intercepted three shipments containing dangerous prohibited items arriving from overseas.
On March 21, agriculture specialists inspected three packages arriving from Hong Kong, Laos and Thailand. The first shipment was manifested as a ceramic plate, but inspection of the shipment revealed food items. While most were enterable food items with no agriculture concerns, the shipment included approximately 7 pounds of prohibited beef and pork sausage.
The second shipment from Laos, contained 16 pounds of prohibited material, such as tubers and root stock that required phytosanitary certification. The items were removed and examined for pests. However, a deeper dive into the package uncovered a layer of wood chips that concealed a dried animal skin. The animal skin was removed from the shipment and referred to Fish and Wildlife Services. FWS inspector identified the skin as badger and detained the skin.
The third shipment from Thailand was manifested as dried bamboo shoot but contained an animal skin. Further inspection by agriculture specialist found the animal skin to be water buffalo skin, which is prohibited.
All prohibited items were destroyed in accordance with the USDA. All the shipments were addressed to various locations in Minnesota. Additionally, all the recipients were notified that their shipments were either seized or had prohibited items removed. CBP officers and agriculture specialists are stationed at ECOs around the nation and conduct inspections to ensure imported goods meet U.S. admissibility regulations.
"Our nation's food supply is constantly at risk from pests and disease not known to occur in the U.S.,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, director, Field Operations-Chicago Field Office. "These significant interceptions by our agriculture specialists at the ECO at MSP exemplify CBP's continued commitment to safeguarding American agriculture."
CBP recommends that people who wish to import plant materials, animal materials and other agricultural items consult the CBP Information Center section on the CBP website or call (877) 227-5511. In addition, when traveling to the United States, travelers should always declare all items acquired abroad to CBP officers to avoid civil or criminal penalties and reduce the risk of introducing pests and disease to the United States.
"CBP's agriculture specialists mitigate the threat of non-native pests, diseases and contaminants entering the United States," said Augustine Moore, area port director-Minnesota. "CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural and inspect travelers and cargo arriving into the United States by air, land and sea ports of entry."