STERLING, VA.—Sunblock? Check. Hotel confirmation? Check. Passports? Check. Twenty raw chickens? Fowl, er, foul.
Generally, raw poultry from regions where highly pathogenic avian influenza, Exotic Newcastle disease or other fowl diseases have been known to occur are prohibited from importing to the United States without a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) permit.
A passenger who arrived from Vietnam April 22 learned that lesson after U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists discovered two bags containing a combined 20 small raw chickens in a cooler that the Vietnamese man claimed as baggage. The chickens, which appeared to be fully intact, but defeathered, possessed a dark-bluish-grey to blackened skin and feet. Chinese Silkies are black chickens. CBP seized and incinerated the raw chickens.
"Highly pathogenic avian influenza and Exotic Newcastle diseases are serious threats, which, if introduced into the U.S., could adversely affect our nation's poultry industry and hurt our international trade," said Christopher Hess, CBP port director for the port of Washington, D.C. "Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists are front line protectors of America's agriculture industries and they take their job very seriously."
CBP routinely conducts inspection operations on arriving and departing international passenger and searches for terrorist weapons, illicit narcotics, unreported currency, counterfeit merchandise, and prohibited agriculture and other products.
CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection. 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 4,919 prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products, including 476 insect pests.
They work closely with USDA to protect our nation's agriculture resources against the introduction of foreign plant pests and animal diseases. Learn more about CBP agriculture specialists.
Travelers are encouraged to visit CBP's Travel website to learn rules governing travel to and from the U.S.
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.