Customs officials say seizing unusual meats is common

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CHICAGO – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials say it isn’t unusual for agents to confiscate contraband like the 32 pounds of rat meat recently seized at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

Customs spokesman Steve Bansbach tells the Chicago Tribune all kinds of meats are frequently seized from travelers, including pork and bushmeat, or meat from African wild animals.

The traveler who brought rat meat into the U.S. from the Ivory Coast wasn’t fined because he declared the meat at customs. Bansbach says inspectors later determined it was African rodent meat.

The U.S. bars entry of African meats to prevent the spread of African swine fever.

Boston University agricultural historian James McCann says the rodent meat may have been a type of rat sometimes prepared in stews in parts of West Africa.

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