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For All Souls Day, CBP Laredo Field Office Reminds Public of Prohibited Agriculture Items that Can Carry Citrus Greening Disease

Release Date: 
October 30, 2020

LAREDO, Texas – As the U.S.-Mexico border community observes the All Souls Day (Día de los Muertos) holiday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials representing Laredo Field Office ports of entry are advising the traveling public that certain agricultural items used in holiday decorations are prohibited from entry to the U.S. and can carry harmful pests and disease, such as the citrus greening disease.  Also CBP would like to remind the public of prohibited fruits that tend to be brought by travelers during this holiday period.

“As families begin to construct altares at home to honor loved ones for All Souls Day, CBP is reminding cross border travelers who purchase items in Mexico that certain flowers, greenery and fruits are prohibited from entry,” said Director, Field Operations Randy J. Howe, Laredo Field Office.  “CBP agriculture specialists help protect American agriculture by conducting examinations in both the passenger and commercial environments to prevent plant pests and diseases not known to exist in the U.S. from establishing themselves and wreaking harm on agricultural producers and the American economy.”

Chief Agriculture Specialist David Gonzalez, together with Supervisory Agriculture Specialists Adriana Limon and Carlos Ramos demonstrate a traditional altar to help inform the community about prohibited greenery and citrus in light of the coming All Souls holiday.
Chief Agriculture Specialist David Gonzalez, together
with Supervisory Agriculture Specialists Adriana
Limon and Carlos Ramos demonstrate a traditional
altar to help educate the traveling public regarding
prohibited greenery and citrus fruits that cannot be
brought from Mexico to create altares for Dia de los
Muertos.

Many border community families celebrate Día de los Muertos by constructing altares (altars) to commemorate the lives of loved ones that have passed on.  A common type of ornamental greenery known as murraya or orange jasmine is often used in the construction of altares.  Murraya is a host plant for the Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri Kuwayama, an insect that can carry citrus greening disease and is therefore prohibited from entry into the U.S.

Citrus greening, also known as “huanglongbing,” is a disease caused by a bacterium that can infect most citrus varieties and some ornamental plants (such as orange jasmine); this disease was first detected in the U.S. in 2005 in the state of Florida, Miami-Dade County. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the disease has seriously affected citrus production in India, Asia, Southeast Asia, the Arabian Peninsula and Africa.

Citrus fruit that is prohibited from personal importation includes the following: oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, sour oranges and sweet limes. Other popular fruits that also are prohibited include guavas, mangoes, peaches and pomegranates.

Failure to declare prohibited agricultural items also can result in fines. Penalties for personal importations of undeclared, prohibited agricultural items, depending on the severity of the violation, can run as high as $1,000 and up to more than $250,000 for commercial importations.

The traveling public can learn more about bringing food items to the U.S. by consulting the attached link. For more information regarding prohibited fruits, vegetables, prepared foods and other items, please consult CBP’s “Know Before You Go” guide link.

 For more detailed information about USDA guidelines for bringing agricultural items to the U.S., travelers can also examine the following link.

Last modified: 
October 30, 2020