Newark, N.J. - While appealing to the eyes, the 336 decorative Easter eggs seized in Newark could carry potentially harmful diseases.
On March 11, CBP Agriculture K9 Douglas alerted to a shipment manifested as wooden eggs. Upon closer examination CBP agriculture specialists determined the boxes contained hollowed, decorated chicken and ostrich eggshells. The shipment, which was falsely manifested, was seized because it had the potential of transmitting Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza.
HPAI is an extremely infectious viral disease of poultry, including chickens, ducks, and turkeys. Migratory wildfowl and other wild birds are considered natural hosts for avian influenza viruses. The virus is circulating widely among poultry in Asia and specific regions of Europe. An outbreak in poultry would additionally pose a risk to people who have contact with infected birds or contaminated poultry products.
"CBP is committed to protecting the American public from any type of external threat," said Robert E. Perez, director of Field Operations, New York Field Office. "CBP officers and agricultural specialists in the greater New York area are some of the best trained and most successful in detecting and intercepting contraband items despite many cunning concealment methods."
Penalties for undeclared, or falsely declared, prohibited agricultural items carry fines of up to $250,000. Customs and Border Protection would like to remind the traveling public to refer to the travel section of CBP.gov to reference a list of prohibited food items by country.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.