Seven pounds of live snails from Italy were found by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists in Philadelphia earlier this month.
The snails, which were in a package en route to Hartford, Conn., were discovered by federal agents on June 2 near the Philadelphia International Airport, according to the agency. The gastropod mollusks were found in a parcel labeled, “shoes and honey.”
A U.S. Department of Agriculture researcher classified the creatures on June 6 as the “the chocolate-banded snail.”
The snail, which is mostly found in the Mediterranean region, “poses a significant threat to vineyards, garden plants and agriculture crops,” according to the Texas Invasive Species Institute. It is edible and sold for food.
“Seven pounds of live snails is a unique find, and an example of the vigilance demonstrated by Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists in protecting our nation’s agricultural industries,” Shawn Polley, acting CBP Port director in Baltimore, said. “CBP agriculture specialists are our nation’s frontline agriculture protectors and they take their job very seriously.”
CBP confiscated the snail shipment and sent a violation to the person responsible for the receipt of the package because the parcel was mislabeled.