PHOTO: Birds' nests seized by agriculture specialists at George Bush Intercontinental Airport. (Photo via U.S. Customs and Border Production)
When heading to the airport it's best to leave your birds' nests at home.
Earlier this week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists uncovered more than two dozen birds' nest inside of a passenger's luggage at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
CBP said officials seized and destroyed 30 birds' nests Tuesday after discovering them inside a box of herbs.
The passenger, who was arriving from Vietnam, was assessed a $300 fine for failing to declare the nests, which are considered a delicacy in some places.
While people in many destinations use birds' nests to make soups with high nutritional value, they are prohibited from being brought into the U.S. due to the risk of them carrying Newcastle Disease or the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5N1) virus since they are made from the solidified saliva of birds.
"CBP’s agriculture mission requires that we safeguard America’s agricultural and natural resources," Port Director Charles Perez said in a statement. "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."
Customs officials found more than 4,500 materials that required quarantine or destruction on an average day last year, according to CBP.