Customs officials seize illegal horse meat

by MEAT+POULTRY Staff
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 Horse meat
CBP agriculture specialists seized 43 pounds of horsemeat on Jan. 29. 
 

STERLING, Va. — US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) stopped two women arriving from Mongolia on Jan. 29 because they were smuggling concealed horsemeat inside juice boxes. The illicit cargo included 13 lbs. of horse genitals that one woman claimed was for medicinal purposes.

After the two had deplaned, CBP officers referred the women for a routine agriculture examination. From there, Custom and Border Protection agriculture specialists discovered a combined 42 lbs. of meat described as “horsemeat and other ruminant meat,” including 13 lbs. of horse genitals, and three liters of yak milk.

“Customs and Border Protection takes no pleasure in seizing and destroying travelers’ food products,” said Wayne Biondi, CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Washington Dulles.  “We’re in the business of protecting America’s agriculture industries, like the livestock industry, from the potential introduction of animal diseases posed by these unpermitted food products.”

The United States prohibits horse meat that is not accompanied by an official government horsemeat certification from the country or government where the meat originates. Otherwise, Customs and Border Protection treats the items as unknown ruminant meat and seizes it due to fears of foot and mouth disease. Horse meat from Mongolia is prohibited due to concerns of introducing animal diseases to US livestock industries.

CBP incinerated all of the seized food products. Neither woman was criminally charged.  CBP officers released them to continue their US visit.

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