US flag Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Agriculture Specialists in Louisville Are Seeing an Increase in Dangerous Prohibited Agriculture Shipments

Release Date: 
May 3, 2021

LOUISVILLE, Ky— U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Louisville sometimes call for reinforcements when a parcel’s contents could pose a threat to agriculture and related industries. CBP’s Agriculture Specialists in Louisville have been busy this spring experiencing a large increase in items that cause a threat to farming communities.Duck Meat

One of the most common items seized by these specialists is live plants and seeds for planting. Most of the shipments come from China and are prohibited under the Plant Protection Act (PPA)because they lack the required permits and certificates. Live plants and seeds are high risk for plant pests, including insects, diseases, and weeds. The live insect shipments Agriculture Specialist have encountered are also regulated under the PPA and by U.S. Fish and Wildlife.   

Additionally, a lot of animal products have been seized. These items are prohibited entry because they carry livestock diseases. One such seizure was declared as “plastic samples” but was foil bags of duck tongues, a delicacy in China. Other items commonly seized are live eggs for hatching. These are prohibited because hatching eggs can carry Newcastle disease and Avian Influenza.  

And the shippers of these items’ mis-manifest or hide their contraband in their packages: insect eggs smuggled inside stuffed animals, pears from Korea, manifested as Hair Band, and strawberries from China, manifested as Ladies Sweater pose a risk of various plant pests, including Oriental Fruit Fly.

SucculentsIn comparison the Port of Louisville is #1 in the nation for the number of Emergency Action Notifications (EANs) documentation issued during the first half of fiscal year 2021. Louisville has issued 6,256 EANs, which is a 186% increase compared to their totals for the first half of fiscal year 2020.

“Live plants can harbor pests and diseases that, if introduced into our agriculture systems or natural resources, could cause significant damage to our food supply or native species,” said Thomas Mahn, Port Director-Louisville. “Our agriculture specialists are dedicated to protecting these essential American resources from foreign pests and diseases.”

During a typical day last year, CBP agriculture specialists across the nation seized 3,091 prohibited plant, meat, animal byproducts, and soil, and intercepted 250 insect pests at U.S. ports of entry. Learn more about what CBP accomplished during “A Typical Day” in 2020.

CBP conducts operations at ports of entry throughout the United States, and regularly screens arriving international passengers and cargo for narcotics, weapons, and other restricted or prohibited products. CBP strives to serve as the premier law enforcement agency enhancing the Nation’s safety, security, and prosperity through collaboration, innovation, and integration.

Last modified: 
May 3, 2021