CBP: Bird's nests smuggled into Bush Airport for soup

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Customs officials at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport seized 30 birds' nests inside a passenger's baggage on Tuesday.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection say the nests are considered a delicacy in some countries, but are prohibited from entering the US as they are likely carriers of infectious diseases.

Birds' nests are created from the solidified saliva of birds and are used to make a soup or broth. In some cultures they are considered a prized possession due to their high nutritional value and exceptional taste. Birds' nests are high in calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium.

The passenger, who was arriving from Vietnam, didn't declare the items, but during the baggage examination, officials discovered the nests concealed inside a box of herbs.

The passenger was assessed a $300 penalty for failure to declare prohibited agricultural products and the birds' nests were seized and destroyed.