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October 22, 09

NEWS / CBP in Otay Mesa Protects U.S. Agriculture from Harmful Pests

San Diego - U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the Otay Mesa cargo port intercepted a prohibited item and an actionable pest that could potentially cause harm to U.S. agriculture.

Early this month, CBP agriculture specialists at the Otay Mesa cargo facility encountered a shipment manifested as cut flowers and vegetables. They took samples of each flower type and vegetable for inspection and discovered Sorghum bicolor; also known as broomcorn. Broomcorn, a plant genus from Mexico, is prohibited from being imported into the U.S. due to its susceptibility to European corn borers. The shipment was refused entry and returned to Mexico.

On September 30, a CBP agriculture specialist found an actionable pest on a shipment of corn. This shipment was also returned to Mexico because the larva found on it was identified as Diatraea considerata Heinrich, a significant quarantine pest. Intercepting Diatraea considerata Heinrich on corn is an unusual occurrence for the San Diego ports as the pest is known to be a sugarcane borer.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture identified through scientific risk assessment and study which pests are “actionable” or dangerous to the health and safety of U.S. agricultural resources. If introduced into the U.S., actionable pests could cause serious damage to America’s crops, livestock, environment and potentially public health.

CBP agriculture specialists protect the U.S. from the threat of invasive pests and diseases with inspection and prevention efforts designed to keep prohibited agricultural items from entering the country. On a typical day during fiscal year 2008, CBP seized 4,125 prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products, including 435 agricultural pests at ports of entry.




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