An unamed Ghanaian traveller was briefly detained by border officials in the United States of America after banned giant African snails were discovered in his luggage.
The man had arrived at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport’s Customs and Border Protection desk, whereupon an inspection by officers revealed his consignment.
An Associated Press (AP) report said the incident happened on March 9.
The man transporting the snails is a resident of Ghana and said they were to be eaten. He was released without further actions, the AP report stated.
Even though the incident happened on the 9th, it was on 17th that the customs officials revealed the incident to the media. They did not state whether he was allowed to go with the snails.
“It is not uncommon for travelers to bring food items from their native countries, which underscores the importance of the inspection process upon arrival to U.S. ports of entry,” Customs and Border Protection spokesman Steven Bansbach said.
“This allows CBP officers and agriculture specialists the opportunity to determine whether these goods are permissible or not, while mitigating the potential for public health or environmental issues.”
The mollusks, it is said, can carry diseases that affect humans.
Giant African land snails are prohibited in Michigan and the rest of the United States. They eat at least 500 different types of plants, along with plaster and stucco on buildings.
They grow as long as 8 inches (20 centimeters) and carry a parasite called the rat lungworm that can cause meningitis in humans. They also can produce up to 1,200 eggs a year.
“Our CBP officers and agriculture specialists work diligently to target, detect, and intercept potential threats before they have a chance to do harm to U.S. interests,” Port Director Robert Larkin said.