Ed­i­ble birds’ nests, ‘caviar of East,’ seized at Cus­toms

The Dallas Morning News - - North Texas - Matt Peter­son

A trav­eler from Viet­nam was stopped this week at DFW In­ter­na­tional Air­port with some un­usual con­tra­band: 54 birds’ nests. The ed­i­ble nests were hid­den in the lug­gage of the smug­gler, who failed to de­clare the Asian del­i­ca­cies, ac­cord­ing to U.S. Cus­toms and Border Pro­tec­tion.

The swift­let nests, com­monly known as the “caviar of the East,” are mostly made of the so­lid­i­fied saliva of birds and can fetch big bucks: up to $5,000 a pound. And while they’re lauded for their re­ju­ve­nat­ing pow­ers and are quite nu­tri­tious, they can also carry dis­eases like avian flu.

The nests were seized dur­ing a cus­toms in­spec­tion and were de­stroyed “us­ing steam ster­il­iza­tion,” the agency said.

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