U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said the feces could carry disease, especially with the passenger’s intended use for it.
MINNEAPOLIS — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials inspect all kinds of items packed by passengers on incoming international flights. This one is undoubtedly one of the more unique.
According to a CBP news release, an Iowa woman flying into Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) last Friday declared that she was bringing back a small box of giraffe feces in her luggage after returning to the U.S. from a trip to Africa.
CBP agricultural specialists seized the box of droppings after the woman said she planned to use it to make a necklace.
“There is a real danger with bringing fecal matter into the U.S.,” LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, CBP Director, Field Operations-Chicago Field Office, said in a statement. “If this person had entered the U.S. and had not declared these items, there is high possibility a person could have contracted a disease from this jewelry and developed serious health issues.”
CBP said the feces was destroyed “via steam sterilization per United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) destruction protocol.”
It’s actually not illegal to import animal feces into the United States; however, it requires a Veterinary Services Permit to do so to avoid the spread of diseases and invasive pests. CBP said the box of giraffe feces was obtained from Kenya, where a number of livestock diseases are present.
“CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological and agriculture sciences, they inspect travelers and cargo arriving in the United States by air, land, and seaports of entry,” Augustine Moore, CBP Area Port Director for Minnesota, said in a statement.
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