STERLING, Va. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists seized more than 24 pounds of unknown meat from Cameroon at Washington Dulles International Airport Tuesday that a U.S. citizen refused to declare and who instead attempted to conceal inside fish.
Title 9, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 94 (9CFR94) restricts the importation of animal products from countries that are known to have certain exotic foreign animal diseases, such as Hoof and Mouth, and African and Classical Swine Fevers. The accidental or deliberate introduction of animal diseases poses a potentially significant threat to American livestock industries.
A CBP officer referred the traveler to a secondary examination where the traveler, both verbally and in writing, declared to possess no food products. CBP agriculture specialists then asked the traveler about specific types of meat. The traveler eventually declared that he had only fish.
A baggage examination revealed 11 kilograms of various types on unknown, cooked meat that was concealed in the middle of packages of fish. CBP seized and incinerated the meat products and assessed a $300 penalty to the traveler.
“Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists typically encounter similar food products arriving from Africa, but the sheer volume and concealment method makes this an extraordinarily unique seizure,” said Stephen Kremer acting CBP port director for the Port of Washington Dulles. “We hope that this seizure reinforces our message to travelers to be aware of regulations restricting certain foods from the U.S., and to be truthful in declaring all food products to CBP. There is no penalty for honesty.”
CBP agriculture specialists offer travelers multiple opportunities to truthfully declare all food products in their possession. Those who fail to comply are assessed civil penalties ranging from $300 to $2,000.
CBP agriculture specialists also seized more than two pounds of prohibited goat meat in a sauce Monday that a traveler from Ethiopia failed to declare. CBP assessed that traveler a $300 penalty.
CBP assessed a $300 penalty Monday to a traveler from Ethiopia who failed to declare possessing more than two pounds of prohibited dried beef, and another $300 penalty Sunday to a traveler from Russia who failed to declare more than 24 pounds of prohibited pork products.
CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection. They are frontline protectors of our nation’s agriculture resources against the introduction of foreign plant pests, and plant and animal diseases.
On a typical day, they inspect tens of thousands of international air passengers, and air and sea cargoes nationally being imported to the United States and seize 4,379 prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products, including 440 insect pests.
To learn more about CBP agriculture specialists, please visit the career section of the CBP website.
In addition to agriculture enforcement, CBP routinely conducts inspection operations on arriving and departing international flights and intercepts narcotics, weapons, unreported currency, and other illicit contraband or prohibited items.
Travelers are encouraged to visit CBP’s Travel section of the website to learn rules governing travel to and from the U.S.