Agency with firm resolve to stop pests and diseases that hurt local agriculture
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico. – US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists discovered a new pest found for the first time in the nation.
On January 4, 2016, while inspecting a shipment of cut flowers from Ecuador at the Luis Munoz Marin Air Cargo facilities in Puerto Rico, a CBP Agriculture Specialist intercepted an uncommon pest. The insect was identified on March 21, 2016 by US Department of Agriculture (USDA) as Prairiana sp. (Cicadellidae), considered an actionable pest and “First Time in Nation” interception.
The insect was found on Hydrangea sp., a species of flowering plants. This insect is an actionable pest and it is the first time it has been found at a United States ports of entry.
CBP Agriculture Specialists issued an Emergency Action Notification and the shipment was destroyed at a CBP/USDA approved facility.
“CBP Agriculture specialists have an important mission in safeguarding the nation’s agriculture”, said Sonja Cruz-Fidalgo, San Juan Supervisory Operations Manager – Agriculture. “This first in port interception demonstrates the vigilance of the agriculture specialists in Puerto Rico and their dedication to detect and prevent foreign invasive plants and plant pests from entering through our ports of entry.”
CBP Agriculture specialists work closely with Animal Plant Health Inspection Services – Plant Protection & Quarantine to protect our nation’s agriculture resources against the introduction of foreign plant pests and animal diseases. Detecting pests, evaluating their risk and implementing actions to prevent their propagation are necessary steps taken by the federal government to protect local agriculture.
CBP Agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection. Their duties include inspecting tens of thousands of international air passengers and air and sea cargo that arrive into the United States each day. Approximately 4,664 pest interceptions were submitted to USDA at ports of entry in the San Juan Office of Field Operations during Fiscal Year 2015.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.