DALLAS – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport discovered 63 bird’s nest pieces, Thursday.
These items, considered a delicacy in some countries, are prohibited from entering the United States as they can carry Newcastle Disease or the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5N1) virus.
The passenger, who was arriving from Vietnam, declared other agricultural items but when asked specifically about bird’s nest, she refused to declare the goods. During the passenger’s baggage examination, CBP agriculture specialists discovered the prohibited items concealed among the traveler’s belongings.
“Our agriculture specialists recognize the importance of intercepting items being smuggled to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and harmful pests that have not been introduced into our agriculture. Seizures like this one help diminish that threat,” said Port Director Cleatus P. Hunt Jr. “Safeguarding America’s agricultural and natural resources is one of CBP agriculture specialists’ missions.”
Bird’s nests are created from the solidified saliva of birds and are used to make a soup or broth. In some cultures they are considered a culinary delicacy due to their high nutritional value and exceptional taste. Bird’s nests are high in calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium. However because they are likely carriers of infectious diseases, they are prohibited from entry to the U.S.
The passenger was assessed a $300 penalty for failure to declare prohibited agricultural products; the bird’s nests were seized and destroyed.
Travelers are encouraged to visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service or CBP’s websites for information about bringing food and agriculture items into the United States.
On a typical day in 2016, CBP agriculture specialists discovered 4638 materials that required quarantine or destruction including plant, meat, animal byproduct and soil.
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.