U.S Customs tells Indians : Stop carrying Bullshit. Cow dung from India is prohibited in luggage

Cows are no strangers to praise and controversy in India. Hindus consider the animal sacred and many consider cow urine (Gomutra) and poop (cow dung) sacred and containing medicinal properties.  

This may sound funny to some, but Indians seem to be carrying cow dung (dried cake) in their baggage while traveling to the US, prompting the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to issue a press release (Dulles CBP Agriculture Specialists Find Cake Surprise in Leftover Baggage). According to the release

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists discovered cow dung cakes while examining leftover baggage recently at Washington Dulles International Airport. 

That is not a typo. CBP agriculture specialists found two cow dung cakes in a suitcase that was left behind after passengers from an Air India flight cleared CBP’s inspection station on April 4. 


According to US CBP,  "Cow dung is reported to be a vital energy and cooking source in some parts of the world. Cow dung has also been reportedly used as a skin detoxifier, an antimicrobial, and as a fertilizer. Despite these alleged benefits, cow dung from India is prohibited due to the potential introduction of Foot and Mouth disease."

Indians and South Asians collect Cow Dung for use in producing biogas to generate electricity and heat. The gas is rich in methane and is used in rural areas of India and Pakistan and elsewhere to provide a renewable and stable (but unsustainable) source of electricity.

Given the demand for cow dung and urine, many companies in India collect package and market  Cow dung "Gobar" and "Gomutra." The popular eCommerce giant, Amazon's Indian portal lists dozens of brands of packaged cow dung "cake." The packages of 500 grams are selling for about ₹282  ($4)

Cow urine (Gomutra) is used for therapeutic purposes in ancient Ayurvedic medicine. Indians consider Urine of a pregnant cow special, containing special hormones and minerals. According to Indian medicine (Ayurveda), Gomutra (cow urine) can cure leprosy, fever, peptic ulcer, liver ailments, kidney disorders, Asthma, certain allergies, skin problems like Psoriasis, anaemia and even cancer. (wiki)

Amazon India  lists dozens of brands of packaged cows urine (Gomutra) selling for about ₹ 180 per liter ($2.5 / liter)

Cow dung is also available for sale in the US. The American retail giant, Walmart has also listed "cow manure" on their website (though in the gardening section). In 2016, cow urine was being sold in the food aisle in the UK, which led to a backlash. 

To be fair, it is a small minority of Indians who believe in such cow-dung and Gomutra cures, but enough for Indian doctors to warn against cow dung as COVID cure

In 2020, the Indian government called for an initiative inviting research into the byproducts of “pure indigenous cows” like dung, milk, and urine. According to Vice media, over 100 scientists opposed the move and called it complete bullshit.


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