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Sixty-seven Snails (ìgbín) from Nigeria seized at Los Angeles International Airport – AP

July 15, 2014

Africa

Allow me to first wonder aloud what difference there is between escargot and “giant African snails”?  Despite the many years I’ve spent in the States and I consider it also home, I must say I find quite a few food of the Western world baffling, hard as I try.   Escargo is high on that list.  I think it depends on tastes we grow up with.  While people from the Western world would, perhaps, eat anything as long as it looks good and is well-presented no matter the taste, Africans tend to go for taste while relegating look to second place. 

To a great extent, my preference for food after having chosen wrongly a couple of  times based on look outside Africa, is very clear!

While the U.S. Customs continues its investigation into what a single individual would want to do with such a “large quantity”, it would save U.S. tax-payers  loads of money by just asking any Nigerian from the Southern part of the country at the same airport:  the importer was either planning a big party at which most things served would be Nigerian OR it was destined for a Nigerian grocery stores.  They would have been slaughtered, cleaned and packaged ready-to-cook. 

Haven’t eaten them since the late 70s when I swore off them cold turkey just as I haven’t tasted any ice cream since a day in 1970 not long after I got married when I visited the University of Ife Leventis Store thrice and all I picked up on each trip was ice cream.  All I can remember now is that both are very addictive; one taste called for more.  Luckily, my kids did not grow up eating and getting addicted to them.

Igbin is hawked, already-fried with pepper, all over Nigeria, especially in traffic back-ups (go-slows) where you can buy just about anything, canned cold drinks, stair masters, uncooked meat – yeah –  handkerchiefs, even machetes …

TOLA.

This undated photo provided by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows a person using two hands to hold a single snail from an air cargo shipment of 67 live snails that arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on July 1, 2014. Officials said that the 35 pounds of snails arrived from Nigeria along with paperwork stating they were for human consumption. Officials say the snails were intercepted and they were subsequently identified after a sample was sent to U.S. Department of Agriculture specialists in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/USDA

 

 

 

Giant African snails seized at Los Angeles airport  –  AP

                                                  

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Inspectors at Los Angeles International Airport seized an unusually slimy package — 67 live giant African snails that are a popular delicacy across West Africa.

 The snails — which are prohibited in the U.S. — arrived from Nigeria and were being sent to a person in San Dimas, said Lee Harty, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Customs and Border protection.

The snails were confiscated July 1 and a sample was sent the next day to a federal mollusk specialist in Washington, D.C., who identified them as a prohibited species, Harty said.

The mollusks are among the largest land snails in the world and can grow to be up to 8 inches long. They are native to Africa and can live for up to 10 years.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture incinerated the snails after they were inspected, Harty said. The animals are prohibited in the U.S. because they can carry parasites that are harmful to humans, including one that can lead to meningitis.

The snails are also agricultural pests, said Maveeda Mirza, the CBP program manager for agriculture.

“These snails are seriously harmful to local plants because they will eat any kind of crop they can get to,” Mirza said.

The person the snails were destined for is not expected to face any penalties, Mirza said. She said authorities are investigating why a single person would want so many snails.

“We’re investigating what happened, but it doesn’t seem like there was smuggling involved. When someone doesn’t know a commodity is prohibited under USDA regulations there is usually no punishment,” she said.

Although the agency has found one or two snails that may have accidentally gotten into a traveler’s luggage in Los Angeles, this is the first time that they have confiscated the snails in such a large quantity, Mirza said.

 

TUESDAY, JULY 15, 2014.  10:30 a.m. [GMT]

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8 Comments on “Sixty-seven Snails (ìgbín) from Nigeria seized at Los Angeles International Airport – AP”

  1. emotan77 Says:

    From my Mail Box

    This is a serious matter and indiscipline of the highest order.
    Must they eat Igbin at all costs?
    Serves them right. The price is going to be very high!

    Dapo

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    Reply

    • emotan77 Says:

      A serious matter and definitely indiscipline as you’ve noted, Dapo. Well, I’m sure the importer could afford the expense.

      Thanks, and regards,
      TOLA.

      Like

      Reply

  2. emotan77 Says:

    From my Mail Box

    I bet there are some very disappointed people planning a big ‘inawo’ who were expecting the snails.

    Nike, USA

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    Reply

    • emotan77 Says:

      Dear Nike,

      You are right but I guess the hostess could have ended up ordering carry-out from a Nigerian restaurant at L.A where, I’m sure, igbin would be available, and that’s what has baffled me about this importer: why did she – had to be a woman – not buy the ones sold in Nigerian groceries. Em – and how did those get into the U.S. of A because I’ve seen igbin during check-out in Nigerian groceries in the Washington Metro Area.

      It’s madness of a different type but perhaps one unique to Nigerians: in Nigeria, they proudly let everybody know they are planning parties at which nothing Nigerian would be served while in America, they boast that at their parties, nothing American would be served! Madness in Nigeria.

      Regards,
      TOLA.

      Like

      Reply

  3. emotan77 Says:

    From my Mail Box

    Found article extremely interesting. I hope the woman would only lose the 67 tasty looking snails and not end up with a huge fine or behind bars.

    Ade

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    Reply

  4. Fatai Bakare Says:

    Really, one man’s meat is another man’s heart attack. Oh my God. Delicious snails. ”Abere sonu, nwon gbe Sango jade!”” (why these worries over trivial things).

    Like

    Reply

    • emotan77 Says:

      Exactly! See what I mean by its being addictive, a taste I no longer remember. They, especially the French, are also addicted to escargot, frogs, and some other things that would make an African squeamish. It’s a matter of taste buds developed over millenia.

      Rgds,
      TOLA.

      Like

      Reply

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    […] Sixty-seven Snails (ìgbín) From Nigeria Seized At Los Angeles International Airport – AP July 15th, 2014 — “Allow me to first wonder aloud what difference there is between escargot and “giant African snails”? Despite the many years I’ve spent in the States and I consider it also home, I must say I find quite a few food of the Western world baffling, hard as I try. Escargo is high on that […]” 2 Comments […]

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