Officials with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently seized 450 pork tamales inside a passenger’s luggage at Los Angeles International Airport.
The passenger arrived at LAX from Mexico and had selected “YES” on a customs declaration about bringing food, but reportedly said the food didn’t contain meat.
When the luggage was inspected, the 450 tamales were found inside, wrapped in plastic bags.
The tamales were destroyed and the passenger was given a $1,000 civil penalty.
“Although tamales are a popular holiday tradition, foreign meat products can carry serious animal diseases from countries affected by outbreaks of Avian Influenza, Mad Cow and Swine Fever," said Anne Maricich with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. “Every day CBP agriculture specialists prevent the intentional and unintentional introduction of harmful pests and foreign animal diseases into the U.S.”