ROMULUS, Mich. – Six live Giant African Snails were intercepted from a traveler’s suitcase at Detroit Metro Airport.
Agricultural specialists with United States Customs and Border Protection said the snails were found in the luggage of a passenger who arrived in the country from Ghana.
The snails are intended to be eaten, but they pose significant health risks to humans and the environment, according to officials. They are also considered an invasive species.
Authorities seized the snails for further analysis.
“Our CBP officers and agriculture specialists work diligently to target, detect, and intercept potential threats before they have a chance to do harm to U.S. interests,” Port Director Robert Larkin said. “The discovery of this highly invasive pest truly benefits the health and well-being of the American people.”
Giant African Snails can carry a parasitic nematode that leads to meningitis in humans. They have an appetite that includes plaster, stucco, and at least 500 different types of plants, which means they can cause significant damage to structures and ecosystems.
Giant African Snails are considered a prohibited organism in the U.S., even though they’re popular to eat and keep as pets in some other countries, according to CBP.
Travelers can click here to learn about current regulations before trying to bring items into the U.S.