Invasive species and toxic substances are among the many threats to American agriculture and natural resources. Through targeting, detection, and interception, CBP agriculture specialists (CBPAS) work to prevent these threats from entering the United States.
Passengers who bring food and other organic material to the United States can often unintentionally carry pests and other risks. Prohibited or restricted items may include meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, plants, seeds, soil, and products made from animal or plant materials. Travelers can help keep America safe by declaring all food and agricultural items.
In the cargo environment, many food items are imported. Wood packaging material, used frequently on a wide variety of imported goods, can hide larvae of wood-boring insects that can then attack native trees or nursery stock. CBP agriculture specialists ask importers to engage in best practices to keep both the cargo and the conveyances free from dangerous species and substances.
Most importers and passengers unintentionally bring these threats to the United States. Unfortunately, certain bad actors engage in agro-terrorism. Agro-terrorism specifically targets a component of agriculture or the food supply. Examples include the intentional introduction of a disease or contamination of food materials with a toxic substance. CBPAS work to identify these bad actors and prevent agro-terrorism from endangering the safety of the United States.
On August 11, 2023, APHIS published a proposed rule in the Federal Register outlining proposed changes to its user fees charged for certain Agricultural Quarantine and Inspection (AQI) services. In association with this proposed rule, APHIS hosted six stakeholder webinars for stakeholders impacted by each fee. Each webinar targets a separate fee area and will last approximately 60 minutes. Recordings are posted for those who cannot attend the live sessions.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is seeking comments on proposal to strengthen Agricultural Quarantine and Inspection Program.
The stakeholder announcement and guidance for comments can be found on the USDA APHIS Agricultural Quarantine and Inspection (AQI) User Fees page.