Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) now knows the answer to the long-asked question about whether the chicken or the egg came first. Hint: it’s not the unpermitted foreign egg.
Not after CBP agriculture specialists intercepted 40 incubated chick-hatching eggs that arrived from the Netherlands in air cargo to Philadelphia on July 24.
The parcel, manifested as “wine glasses,” was destined to an address in Maine. Agriculture specialists opened the parcel and discovered the hatching eggs concealed below a layer of plastic wine glasses atop a plastic foam packing sheet.
With some exceptions, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) prohibits live avian commodities (including eggs for hatching) from countries or regions due to the risk of foreign animal diseases, such as highly-pathogenic avian influenza. All imported hatching eggs must be accompanied by a USDA import permit VS Form 17-129 (except through a land border port from Canada).
USDA Veterinary Services ordered the hatching eggs destroyed.
“The introduction of highly pathogenic avian influenza into the United States poses a potentially devastating impact to our nation’s poultry industry, while also threatening the health and safety of our citizens,” said Casey Durst, CBP’s Director of the Baltimore Field Office. “Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists continue to protect our nation’s agriculture and our economy through extraordinary vigilance and stringent inspections of cargo arriving into Philadelphia.”
CBP agriculture specialists perform a critical border security role in safeguarding America’s agricultural and natural resources from harmful pests and plant diseases. CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the natural sciences and agricultural inspection, inspect tens of thousands of international air passengers, and air and sea cargo imported to the United States.
During a typical day last year, CBP agriculture specialists across the nation seized 4,552 prohibited plant, meat, animal byproduct, and soil, and intercepted 319 insect pests at U.S. ports of entry.