Montreal·New

Frozen guinea pig meat in Montreal court

A man from Orangeville, Ont. appears in Montreal court Monday over a shipment of frozen guinea pig meat from Peru.

Carcasses from Peru seized in 2009 a 'mistake': importer

Guinea pig dish at the Guinea pig food festival in Huacho, Peru, 2008. Guinea pigs, native to the high Andes, are now often served with a generous portion of tubers. (Martin Mejia/Associated Press)

A man from Orangeville, Ont. appears in Montreal court Monday over a shipment of frozen guinea pig meat from Peru.

Although they're considered pets in Canada, in Peru the fuzzy creatures are a traditional dinner delicacy and have been an important source of protein for indigenous people.

Food importer Marco Rodriguez was charged after a container of frozen guinea pig carcasses was seized at the Port of Montreal in 2009. Rodriguez told the Toronto Star that he was trying to expand his business, but cancelled his order after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency told him that importing meat from Peru is prohibited. 

However, when his shipment from Peru was opened for inspection, the frozen guinea pig meat was there along with his other products.

The CFIA says importing meat illegally can lead to hefty fines or even jail sentences.

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