Bag of dead birds confiscated from passenger arriving from China at Virginia airport

CHANTILLY, Va. -- A package of tiny dead birds passed off as pet food was confiscated by Customs agents at a Virginia airport.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection says the package came into Dulles International Airport on a flight from Beijing on January 27.

Agents discovered the bag of dead birds in the baggage of a passenger who was on their way to Maryland. The passenger said the package was cat food. The plastic packaging had pictures of a cat and dog.

"These dead birds are prohibited from importation to the United States as unprocessed birds pose a potentially significant disease threat to our nation's poultry industries and more alarmingly to our citizens as potential vectors of avian influenza," Casey Durst, the director of field operations for CBP in Baltimore, said in a press release.

The birds are barred from importation to prevent the spread of avian flu.

CBP officials say agents seized nearly 5,000 prohibited animal, plant and meat byproduct, as well as soil and insects at the U.S. border on average each day last year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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