A shipment of 67 live giant African snails has been intercepted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents at Los Angeles International airport.
According to Fox News, the snails had been shipped from Lagos, Nigeria to an individual in San Dimas, Calif. The species, which is prohibited in the United States due to the parasites that they can carry, was reportedly being shipped with the intent of being consumed by humans. The snails, which can grow to up to 8 inches and live for several years, also are dangerous for their high levels of plant and agriculture consumption.
“This significant interception of Giant African Snails is the first time this pest has been encountered in such large quantity and as a consumption entry by CBP in Los Angeles. It exemplifies how CBP agriculture specialists protect our nations agriculture from the introduction of threatening foreign pests, plants and diseases,” said Todd C. Owens, CBP director of field operations in Los Angeles, according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.
The snails were reportedly analyzed by the USDA’s mollusk specialist in Washington D.C., then transferred to the USDA’s Plant Inspection Station to be incinerated. The shipment is not being viewed on a criminal level, as the sender was likely not aware of the U.S. policies prohibiting the species in the country.