Federal inspectors at Los Angeles International Airport seized a shipment of 67 giant African snails, which are classified as "a very serious threat" to agriculture and public health in the United States.
Lee Harty of U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the snails, which weighed about 35 pounds, were in a shipment from Lagos, Nigeria, and were destined for San Dimas. Paperwork accompanying the shipment, seized July 1, described them as being for human consumption.
Native to Africa, the snails are also known as giant African land snails, West African snails, West African land snails, or banana rasp snails. They are considered a public health threat because they often contain parasites.
"This significant interception of giant African snails is the first time this pest has been encountered in such large quantity and as a consumption entry by CBP in Los Angeles," said Todd Owen, CBP's director of field operations in Los Angeles.
According to the USDA, "these pests are a very serious threat to our agriculture, natural ecosystem, public health, and economy ... (and) can consume more than 500 types of plants."
--City News Service