The US Customs and Border Protection agents discovered cow dung cakes in a leftover baggage of a passenger from India at an international airport in the suburb of Washington DC, according to officials.
Cow dung cakes are prohibited in the US as they are considered to be potential carriers of the highly contagious foot and mouth disease.
They were destroyed, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said on Monday.
“That is not a typo. CBP agriculture specialists found two cow dung cakes in a suitcase that was left behind after passengers from an Air India flight cleared CBP’s inspection station on April 4,” a media release said on Monday.
“Foot and Mouth Disease is one of the animal diseases that livestock owners dread most, has grave economic consequences, and it is a critical threat focus of Customs and Border Protection’s agriculture protection mission,” said Keith Fleming, Acting Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office.
Cow dung is reported to be a vital energy and cooking source in some parts of the world. Cow dung has also been reportedly used as a skin detoxifier, an antimicrobial and as fertilizer. Despite these alleged benefits, cow dung from India is prohibited due to the potential introduction of Foot and Mouth disease, the CBP said.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) is a worldwide concern as it can spread widely and rapidly and causes significant economic losses to livestock populations.
A single detection of FMD will likely stop international livestock trade completely until authorities can eradicate the disease threat. The US has been FMD free since 1929, according to a statement.