Six giant African land snails have been found in the luggage of a traveler who flew to Michigan from Ghana, a West African country.
ROMULUS, Mich. — Six giant African land snails have been found in the luggage of a traveler who flew into Michigan from the West African country of Ghana.
The mollusks, which can transmit diseases that affect humans, were discovered and seized on March 9 during an agricultural inspection at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Friday.
The man who was transporting the snails is a resident of Ghana and said they ate them. He was released without further action.
“It is not uncommon for travelers to bring food from their home countries, underscoring the importance of the inspection process upon arrival at US ports of entry,” said Steven Bansbach, spokesman for Customs and Border Protection. “This allows CBP officers and agricultural specialists the opportunity to determine whether or not these products are allowed, while mitigating the potential for environmental or public health concerns.”
Giant African land snails are banned in Michigan and the rest of the United States. They eat at least 500 different types of plants, along with plaster and stucco on buildings.
They grow up to 8 inches (20 centimeters) and carry a parasite called rat lungworm that can cause meningitis in humans. They can also produce up to 1,200 eggs a year.
“Our CBP officers and agriculture specialists work diligently to target, detect and intercept potential threats before they have a chance to harm US interests,” Port Director Robert Larkin said.