67 Live Giant African Snails Seized at Los Angeles Airport

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Look at how big these African snails can get! No wonder why they were seized.

Apparently sending rare African snails by snail mail just doesn’t fly in Los Angeles. Inspectors at the Los Angeles International Airport confiscated an unusual package en route from West Africa to Los Angeles: 67 rare giant African snails that are considered a delicacy in West African nations.

The snails, which can grow up to eight inches long, are prohibited in the United States because they can carry extremely harmful bacteria, which can lead to outbreaks of diseases like meningitis. The snails are also harmful agriculturally because they will munch on any crop or plant they can get to, according to the Associated Press.

Fortunately for the unwitting snail enthusiast, there are no penalties for offenders who do not know that a commodity is prohibited under USDA law, and experts are investigating the purpose for the unusual purchase. Unfortunately for the purchaser, his exotic escargot party will have to be put on hold. 

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Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter@JoannaFantozzi