Nearly 10K 'unapproved' coronavirus masks seized by Customs agents

Federal customs agents seized nearly 10,000 unapproved respirator masks while continuing to intercept unapproved medications and other coronavirus-related products, officials revealed late last week.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection [CBP] announced Friday that the day before, agents in Philadelphia seized KN-95 masks that had been manufactured in China.

The officers reportedly consulted with Food and Drug Administration [FDA] inspectors who determined the products violated the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which has barred the import of foods or products that have been misbranded or are of poor quality.

A seizure of unapproved coronavirus-related products shipped into the U.S. from China. 

A seizure of unapproved coronavirus-related products shipped into the U.S. from China.  (CBP)

CBP elaborated that the manufacturer had not registered with the FDA and did not have an Emergency Use Authorization to import the KN-95 masks.

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Customs agents at ports of entry near Baltimore have continued to seize shipments of faulty, unapproved, or counterfeit coronavirus-related protective equipment and pharmaceuticals, the agency added.

"Predatory scammers continue to prey on consumer fear by peddling these counterfeit or unapproved and potentially dangerous products as legitimate COVID-19 protective equipment or medicines," said Casey Durst, CBP's director of field operations in Baltimore.

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Since May 16, CBP officers in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington and Pittsburgh, among others, have completed at least 12 seizures that included 25 unapproved and counterfeit coronavirus test kits as well as thousands of pills, tablets, capsules and various other unproven medicines.

The products had been shipped from manufacturers in China, Hong Kong, Nigeria, United Arab Emirates, and the U.K. and to addresses in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, CBP added.