The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is reminding consumers that it is illegal to bring bushmeat into the U.S. for sale or consumption. Bushmeat is raw or minimally processed meat that comes from wild animals, such as cane rats, monkeys and other nonhuman primates, and bats. It poses a potential risk of human infection, including the Ebola virus. Bushmeat is often smoked, dried, or salted. These processes are not sufficient to kill viruses and other pathogens. U.S. customs agents reported multiple instances of bushmeat being smuggled from Liberia into Minnesota in December at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The products were seized and destroyed.
There is a $250,000 fine for bringing bushmeat into the United States and the product, in any amount, found at U.S. ports of entry will be destroyed along with any personal items that may have come in contact with the bushmeat.
To report information about sales of bushmeat in Minnesota or the suspected smuggling of bushmeat into Minnesota or the U.S., call the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Anti-smuggling Hotline at 301-734-8534. More information on the illegal importation of bushmeat is available from the CDC.
Margaret Hart, MDA Communications
651-592-6908 / firstname.lastname@example.org