Los Angeles, California - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists assigned to the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) seized 450 prohibited pork meat tamales discovered inside the luggage of a passenger arriving from Mexico, on November 2.
The passenger, who was referred to agriculture examination, marked “YES” on the customs declaration about bringing food, but when asked if the food declared contained any pork meat products, a negative verbal declaration was given. Upon inspection, CBP agriculture specialists found 450 pork meat tamales wrapped in plastic bags.
“Although tamales are a popular holiday tradition, foreign meat products can carry serious animal diseases from countries affected by outbreaks of Avian Influenza, Mad Cow and Swine Fever," said Anne Maricich, CBP Acting Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles. “Every day CBP agriculture specialists prevent the intentional and unintentional introduction of harmful pests and foreign animal diseases into the U.S.”
The traveler was assessed a $1,000.00 civil penalty for commercial activity with the intent to distribute. The pork meat tamales were seized and destroyed under CBP supervision.
CBP enforces U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Inspection Service (APHIS) regulations on importing meat and meat products. The best source for the current disease status can be found starting on page 19 of the APHIS website.
During fiscal year 2014, CBP agriculture specialists nationwide issued 75,330 civil violations and intercepted 1,623,294 animal by-product, meat and plant/soil quarantine products.