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Trained beagle finds forbidden fruit and salami at Charlotte airport

These beagles are trained to sniff out fruits, meats and plants from luggage at airports or other locations. They are members of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Beagle Brigade
These beagles are trained to sniff out fruits, meats and plants from luggage at airports or other locations. They are members of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Beagle Brigade Miami Herald

A trained beagle named Shelia found forbidden fruit, seeds and salami in the luggage of arriving international passengers at Charlotte Douglas International Airport this month.

Shelia teamed with U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists to intercept nearly 20 pounds of fruit, vegetables and salami found in arriving international travelers checked bags, the federal agency said Tuesday.

The 4-year-old beagle alerted the specialists to suitcases belonging to travelers who arrived on different flights from Germany and London, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

During the secondary inspection, specialists found chili peppers, squash, propagative seeds and over two pounds of salami.

“Customs and Border Protection’s agriculture inspection and protection mission is a critical trade enforcement priority,” Patty Fitzpatrick, the agency’s Charlotte Port director, said in a news release announcing the fruit, vegetable and meat seizures.

“CBP’s agriculture specialists and our beagles work side by side to detect and intercept prohibited food items, invasive weed seeds and insects, and plant and animal diseases that pose a significant threat to U.S. agricultural industries and our nation’s economy.”

Charlotte Douglas averages 4,000 international travelers a day.

The seized food products were destroyed on site by steam sterilization.

Travelers can check which fruits and vegetables are OK to fly into the country with at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/home/ and https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/planthealth/sa_import/sa_permits/sa_plant_plant_products/sa_fruits_vegetables/ct_favir/.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection provides related information at https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/600/kw/plants.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak

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