On March 9, 2023, the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) located at Detroit Metropolitan Airport seized six Giant African Land Snails from a passenger’s luggage.
The snails were discovered during a routine inspection and were claimed by a Ghanaian national to be for consumption.
Due to the significant risk posed to public health and the environment by these mollusks, CBP agents immediately seized them.
Per a research conducted, the Giant African Land Snails have the ability to consume over 500 different types of plants, including stucco and plaster, and can grow up to eight inches long.
Additionally, the snails carry a parasite that may cause meningitis in humans and can produce up to 1,200 eggs annually.
While the passenger was released without further action, the incident emphasizes the importance of rigorous inspection processes for goods arriving at US ports of entry.
Customs and Border Protection spokesman Steven Bansbach noted that it is typical for travelers to bring food items from their home countries.
This underlines the significance of the inspection process at the point of entry into the US, which enables CBP officers and agriculture specialists to assess the acceptability of such goods and mitigate potential public health or environmental issues.
CBP officers and agriculture specialists are working hard to identify potential threats and prevent any harm to US interests. As Port Director Robert Larkin highlighted, Giant African Land Snails are prohibited in Michigan and the rest of the United States.