Oct. 13 (UPI) -- Customs agents at a Dallas airport said they seized 54 illegal bird nests concealed among personal items in a traveler's luggage.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said agriculture specialists at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport found the undeclared nests, which are edible and considered a delicacy in some countries, concealed among personal items in the luggage of a traveler arriving from Vietnam.
The nests, created from solidified bird saliva, are used to make soup and broth. They are banned from being brought into the United States, however, due to the potential to carry infectious diseases including Newcastle Disease or the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza virus, also known as H5N1.
"CBP's agriculture mission requires that we safeguard America's agricultural and natural resources," CBP Port Director Cleatus Hunt Jr. said. "Our agriculture specialists recognize the importance of intercepting these types of smuggling attempts to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and harmful pests that have not been introduced into our agriculture. Seizures like this one keep that threat at bay."
The seized nests were destroyed, customs officials said.