May 22 (UPI) -- Customs officials at a Texas airport said they seized 63 birds nest pieces from the luggage of a traveler arriving from Vietnam.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the passenger arrived Thursday at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and declared agricultural items, but did not declare the nest pieces, despite being directly asked about them by officers.
Customs said the nest pieces, made from the solidified saliva of birds, are considered a delicacy in some countries, but are prohibited from being brought to the United States because they can carry Newcastle Disease or the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza virus.
"Our agriculture specialists recognize the importance of intercepting items being smuggled to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and harmful pests that have not been introduced into our agriculture. Seizures like this one help diminish that threat," Port Director Cleatus P. Hunt Jr. said. "Safeguarding America's agricultural and natural resources is one of CBP agriculture specialists' missions."
The nests were seized and destroyed. The passenger was fined $300 for failing to declare prohibited agricultural products.