German authorities confiscated unrefrigerated fish weighing tons that were transported in a van suspected to have crossed the German-Belgian border. The officials discovered cooked bats hidden under the fish, but the exact number was not disclosed.
The van, which was uninsured, was driven by a 35-year-old Ivory Coast man who resides in Italy and did not possess a driver’s license. The unusual arrest occurred on Monday at a highway exit in the German city of Aachen.
The driver’s identity remains unknown, and he is currently in custody and will be handed over to German authorities. He could face charges of violating hygiene regulations and possible violations of wildlife conservation laws for the cooked bats.
The vehicle was seized by the police, and Germany’s local consumer protection office ordered the cargo to be confiscated.
Bats have been known to harbor viruses that can be harmful to humans. There is a widely held belief that the COVID-19 pandemic originated from a bat carrying the coronavirus. In September, researchers discovered a vaccine-resistant coronavirus in Russian horseshoe bats.
Unrefrigerated fish can also pose a risk to human health, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA recommends that consumers avoid consuming seafood that has not been stored correctly.
“Never leave seafood or other perishable food out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours or for more than 1 hour when temperatures are above 90°F,” the FDA warns. “Bacteria that can cause illness to grow quickly at warm temperatures.”
If a fish smells sour or like ammonia, and doesn’t have clear and shiny eyes, feds say don’t buy it.