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Passenger aboard flight to New Jersey has mystery ‘bushmeat’ seized

Published Jan 6th, 2021 1:39PM EST
mystery meat
Image: Carlos Santa Maria/Adobe

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  • An airline passenger traveling from the African country of Ghana to New Jersey brought with him approximately nine pounds of mysterious meat of unknown origin. 
  • The meat, which the man declared to customs but was seized by officials upon landing in the U.S., is from an unknown animal.
  • The meat was taken due to concerns about the spread of viruses and other microorganisms. 

With 2020 in the rearview, you’d hope that 2021 would be a bit less weird. For customs officials at Newark Liberty International Airport, the year is starting off on a strange food thanks to the seizure of nine pounds of mysterious, unidentified meat that a passenger attempted to bring with him from overseas.

The man, who was traveling to New Jersey from the African nation of Ghana, declared the nine pounds of “bushmeat” and was allowed to board with it. However, upon landing in the U.S., Customs and Border Protection examined the meat more closely and discovered that it appeared to be from a wild animal. That’s a big no-no due to the possibility of wild animals (and their rotting meat) to carry harmful microbes that spread disease.

As the New York Post reports, the nine pounds of meat were subsequently seized and destroyed. It remains unclear what kind of meat it was, but there’s a possibility that it came from a primate. In the images released by the customs service, the meat looks, well, pretty nasty.

“CBP Agriculture Specialists made critical interceptions of these prohibited animal products and stopped them from entering the United States before they could potentially cause grave damage to our agricultural and economic vitality,” CBP’s Troy Miller said in a statement after the seizure.

I, for the life of me, can’t tell what this animal was. The wrinkly skin and what appears to be rotting flesh don’t look at all appetizing, and it’s unclear why the man, who is a U.S. citizen, wanted to bring it with him. Whatever the case, the meat is now gone, but the question remained what to do with the man that tried to bring it into the country.

Luckily for the man, what he did by bringing the meat with him wasn’t actually considered smuggling. He declared the meat and didn’t attempt to hide it. The fact that he was allowed to board with it was obviously a misstep on the part of the officials at the departing airport, but because he followed the rules, he technically didn’t commit a crime and was allowed to walk free, sans the mystery meat.

So, let this be a lesson to any of you traveling into the United States: Don’t bring weird meat with you. A can of Spam might be fine, but avoid random pieces of unidentifiable animals. That won’t fly.