U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists have seen a lot of strange things in baggage arriving at Dulles International Airport over the years — including charred monkeys, voodoo ceremony tools, cocaine concealed inside the cavity of fully cooked chickens, live sea horses and giant African land snails.
Two women arriving from Mongolia on Jan. 29 with horsemeat concealed inside juice boxes — including 13 pounds of horse genitals that one woman claimed were for medicinal purposes — have added to the list of oddities, CBP officials said in a statement.
After they deplaned, CBP officers referred the women for a routine agriculture examination. There, agriculture specialists discovered a combined 42 pounds of meat described as horsemeat and other ruminant meat, including 13 pounds of horse genitals and three liters of yak milk, CBP officials said.
Horsemeat is prohibited from entering the United States if not accompanied by an official certification from the country or government it originates. Otherwise, CBP treats it as unknown ruminant meat and seizes it due to fears of foot and mouth disease, CBP officials said. Horsemeat from Mongolia is prohibited due to concerns of introducing animal diseases to U.S. livestock industries.
“Customs and Border Protection takes no pleasure in seizing and destroying travelers’ food products,” said Wayne Biondi, CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Washington Dulles. “We’re in the business of protecting America’s agriculture industries, like the livestock industry, from the potential introduction of animal diseases posed by these unpermitted food products.”
CBP incinerated all the food products seized and the women were released them to continue their visit without criminal charges being filed.
Travelers often bring food products from their countries, but some items are prohibited from entering the United States and CBP will seize them upon arrival.
CBP’s Office of Field Operations routinely conducts inspection operations on arriving and departing international flights and intercepts narcotics, weapons, currency, prohibited agriculture products and other illicit items at the nation’s 328 international ports of entry.
On a typical day nationally, CBP agriculture specialists alone inspect over one million people, as well as air and sea cargo imported to the U.S. Those inspections net an average of 404 agriculture pests and diseases and 4,638 materials for quarantine, including plant, meat, animal byproduct and soil every day, CBP officials said.