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  4. Dulles CBP Agriculture Specialists Intercept Potentially Harmful Bat Meat in Passenger Baggage

Dulles CBP Agriculture Specialists Intercept Potentially Harmful Bat Meat in Passenger Baggage

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CBP Urges Travelers to ‘Know Before You Visit’ this Summer Travel Season

STERLING, Va. – Mangled mammal meat might have been the logical outcome that most superhero fans envisioned when Batman took on Superman, but the potential outcome that this bat meat posed to mortals was much more real.

Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists intercepted a charred bat in the baggage of a Maryland traveler who arrived from Ghana at Washington Dulles International Airport on April 5, 2022.
CBP discovered charred bat in the baggage of
a Maryland man who arrived from Ghana.

On April 5, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists at Washington Dulles International Airport discovered 3 pounds, 8 ounces of charred bat meat in the baggage of a Germantown, Md., man who arrived from Ghana.

Bat is considered bushmeat and is a routine protein staple in Africa. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bushmeat is illegal to import to the United States and bats are known vector species for zoonotic diseases, such as Ebola.

CBP seized the bat meat and turned it over to CDC for further examination.

Additionally, CBP agriculture specialists discovered a combined 12 pounds of tetraplura, eggplants, and turkey berries in the man’s baggage. CBP seized and destroyed the prohibited fruit.

CBP seized and destroyed the fruit products and released the traveler.

“Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists play a very challenging frontline role in protecting the public, our nation’s agricultural industries, and our economic vitality every day against the deliberate or accidental introduction of potentially crippling animal diseases that may be carried in passenger baggage,” said Daniel Escobedo, CBP’s Area Port Director for the Area Port of Washington, D.C. “CBP strongly encourages all international travelers to know what they can and cannot pack in their baggage before visiting the United States.”

Among the more common inadmissible or prohibited agriculture products that passengers pack in their baggage or carry with them on the airplane are fruits, bushmeat, traditional meat dishes from family overseas, sandwiches or pizza from airport concessions, and propagative plants. Read more about products that are prohibited or inadmissible.

Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists intercepted a charred bat in the baggage of a Maryland traveler who arrived from Ghana at Washington Dulles International Airport on April 5, 2022.
The bat's skeleton can be seen in the bottom
left in this x-ray image of the suitcase.

With international travel picking up post-COVID and the coming busy summer travel season, CBP urges all travelers to visit CBP’s Travel website to ‘know before they go’ and learn what they can and cannot bring to the United States and to pick up tips to quickly clear CBP’s arrivals inspection process. 

CBP agriculture specialists perform a critical border security role in safeguarding America’s agricultural and natural resources from harmful pests and plant diseases. They have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection, and they inspect tens of thousands of international air passengers, and air and sea cargoes being imported to the United States.

During a typical day last year, CBP agriculture specialists across the nation seized 4,552 prohibited plant, meat, animal byproducts, and soil, and intercepted 319 insect pests at U.S. ports of entry.

CBP's border security mission is led at ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations. CBP officers screen international travelers and cargo and search for illicit narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products that could potentially harm the American public, U.S. businesses, and our nation’s safety and economic vitality. Learn what CBP accomplished during "A Typical Day" in 2021.

Please visit CBP Ports of Entry to learn more about how CBP’s Office of Field Operations secures our nation’s borders. Learn more about CBP at www.CBP.gov.

Follow the Director of CBP’s Baltimore Field Office on Twitter at @DFOBaltimore for breaking news, current events, human interest stories and photos, and CBP’s Office of Field Operations on Instagram at @cbpfieldops.

Last Modified: April 14, 2022