U.S. Customs Seizes Raw Meat

DALLAS — U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists working at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport fined a traveler for attempting to smuggle five uncooked chickens and three packages of pork meat, Jan. 20.

The traveler, a U.S. lawful permanent resident, arrived from El Salvador when CBP officers referred him for a baggage inspection.

Before conducting the baggage inspection, agriculture specialists asked the traveler if he had any items to declare. The traveler declared he was carrying fried chicken; however during the baggage exam, agriculture specialists discovered the unprepared chickens and the packages of cooked pork.

“Our agriculture specialists work to protect American agriculture and livestock from exotic and destructive animal and plant diseases,” said Dallas’ CBP Port Director Cleatus Hunt. “This seizure represents the diligence of CBP’s agriculture specialists who work tirelessly protecting our agriculture industry from invasive and dangerous threats to our food sources.”

Unprepared poultry is prohibited from entry in to the U.S. because it may carry disease agents such as Newcastle disease virus, an infection of domestic poultry and other bird species. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, over $180 million in federal funds was used in 2002 -2003 to eradicate the last outbreak of Exotic Newcastle Disease in the U.S. which was attributed to illegally imported game fowl and eventually spread to commercial poultry. Pork products, either prepared or unprepared, are restricted because of swine fever which is present in Central America and according to USDA represents an important risk to the U.S. swine industry.

The traveler was assessed a $300 fine and the poultry and the packages of pork were seized and destroyed.