African land snails found in luggage at Michigan airport


Six giant African land snails were found in the luggage of a traveler who flew to Michigan from the West African country Ghana

ROMULUS, Mich. — Six giant African land snails have been found in the luggage of a traveler who flew to Michigan from the West African country Ghana.

The shellfish, which can carry diseases affecting humans, were discovered and seized March 9 during an agricultural inspection at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Friday.

The man carrying the snails is a resident of Ghana and said they had to be eaten. He was released without further action.

β€œIt is not uncommon for travelers to bring food items from their home country, which underscores the importance of the on-arrival inspection process at U.S. ports of entry,” the spokesperson said. Customs and Border Protection, Steven Bansbach. “This allows CBP officers and agriculture specialists to determine whether or not these goods are permitted, while mitigating the potential for public health or environmental issues.”

Giant African land snails are banned in Michigan and the rest of the United States. They eat at least 500 different types of plants, as well as plaster and stucco on buildings.

They grow up to 8 inches (20 centimeters) and carry a parasite called rat lungworm which can cause meningitis in humans. They can also produce up to 1,200 eggs per year.

“Our CBP officers and agriculture specialists are working diligently to target, detect and intercept potential threats before they have a chance to harm American interests,” Port Manager Robert Larkin said.

ABC News

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