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Customs officers seize illegal “chicken lollipop” pet food destined for Highlands

CHICKEN LOLLIPOPS Seized by the Customs and Border Patrol in Dallas, bound for an address in Highlands, TX. The contents of the box were labelled as sweaters.

HIGHLANDS — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists have yet to charge a local vendor for placing an order for contraband chicken lollipop pet treats.

The federal agents at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport seized a cargo package of the illegal dog treats disguised as men’s sweaters bound for Highlands from Hong Kong on April 14.

Animal disease concerns are the reason the 93 said to be chicken-flavored lollipop pet treats with rawhide stems are illegal, according to CBP. Attempting to bring in undeclared items that are prohibited or restricted can result in a civil fine.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza 2, Newcastle disease, Foot and mouth disease, Classical swine fever and African swine fever are the specific foreign animal diseases being targeted by the CBP restrictions and prohibitions. The agency destroyed the Highlands order by steam sterilization.

“Consumers are unaware that some international goods and products are prohibited or restricted because of the potential agriculture or biological risks associated with that product,” said Dallas CBP Port Director Tim Lemaux in the release. “When we encounter suspicious shipments, we examine them and then act accordingly. In this case, we seized the shipment to protect our nation’s agriculture industry.”

Visitors to the U.S. are encouraged to declare all agriculture items they are bringing into the U.S.A. On a typical day in fiscal year 2020, CBP intercepted 3,091 materials for quarantine including plant, meat, animal byproduct and soil. The case has been turned over to Homeland Security for further investigation.