For a brief moment on Wednesday morning, Francis Tseng found himself questioning his geography knowledge.
Tseng, a Brooklyn resident and fellow at the Jain Family Institute, said he was conducting research on the Agricultural Tariff Tracker when he noticed an unusual, but familiar, name on the U.S. free trade partners list. The country was Wakanda—the fictional land depicted in Marvel's Black Panther and the Avengers franchise.
"I definitely did a double take," he told NBC News. "I Googled Wakanda to make sure it was actually fiction, and I wasn’t misremembering. I mean, I couldn’t believe it ... I was trying to figure out whether this is someone at the USDA making a joke or if it’s a developer who accidentally left it in, but I’m not sure."
The Tariff Tracker is maintained by the United States Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service. According to NBC News, the Wakanda listing included extensive data on commodity groups, including everything from "fresh vegetables and unroasted coffee beans to essential oils and livestock." Citing the Internet Archive, the outlet reports the Wakanda information was added to the website sometime after June 10.
The USDA removed the listing shortly after Tseng pointed it out. The department claims Wakanda was added during a system test.
"Over the past few weeks, the Foreign Agricultural Service staff who maintain the Tariff Tracker have been using test files to ensure that the system is running properly," the USDA said in a statement. "The Wakanda information should have been removed after testing and has now been taken down."