June 19, 2021

PRIMA NEWS

Discovering to Inform

US customs seize 22 snails, prekese from American who arrived from Ghana

2 min read

They may be slow, but the highly invasive, slimy critters that U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists caught at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Sunday can quickly damage vital crops and structures. CBP agriculture specialists discovered 22 Giant African Snails during a baggage examination of a U.S. man who arrived on a flight from Ghana. Additionally, CBP agriculture specialists discovered about 24 pounds collectively of prohibited ox tail, dried beef, turkey berry, carrot, medicinal leaves and prekese, a traditional African spice and medicinal plant product. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Giant African Snail (GAS) is one of the most damaging snails in the world because it consumes at least 500 types of plants. It threatens U.S. agricultural resources and causes extensive damage to tropical and sub-tropical environments. It also causes structural damage to plaster and stucco structures. GAS reproduce quickly, producing about 1,200 eggs in a single year. The highly invasive Giant African Snail also poses a serious health risk to humans because it carries a parasitic nematode that can lead to meningitis. “Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists are our nation’s frontline defenders against invasive plant and animal pests that threaten our agricultural resources, and they face this complex and challenging mission with extraordinary commitment and vigilance,” said Marty C. Raybon, Acting Director of Field Operations for CBP’s New York Field Office. According to the USDA, the Giant African Snail (Lissachatina fulica) was first found in southern Florida in the 1960s, and it took 10 years and $1 million to eradicate it. It was reintroduced in Miami in September 2011. The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, in partnership with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, is conducting a regulatory program to eradicate this invasive species.


Customs officials agents found a load of giant African snails — known as one of the most damaging snail species in the world — in a man’s luggage at JFK Airport this week.

Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists discovered the 22 slimy, highly invasive critters during a baggage examination of an American man who arrived Sunday on a flight from Ghana, according to a news release.

The giant African snail consumes at least 500 types of plants and wreaks havoc on tropical and sub-tropical environments, officials said.

The snails — which produce about 1,200 eggs in a single year — also pose a health risk to humans because they carry a parasitic nematode that can lead to meningitis, officials said.

They are also known to cause structural damage to plaster and stucco structures.

In addition to the invasive snails, the man’s luggage contained about 24 pounds collectively of prohibited oxtail, dried beef, turkey berry, carrot, medicinal leaves and prekese, a traditional African spice and medicinal plant product, officials said.

The traveler declared all of the items, so he was released, a CBP spokesman said. All of the items were seized.

“Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists are our nation’s frontline defenders against invasive plant and animal pests that threaten our agricultural resources, and they face this complex and challenging mission with extraordinary commitment and vigilance,” Marty C. Raybon, acting director of field operations for CBP’s New York field office, said in a statement.

The giant African snail — whose scientific name is Lissachatina fulica — was first found in southern Florida in the 1960s, and it took 10 years and $1 million to eradicate it, according to the USDA.

Source: New York Post

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