Baltimore CBP Finds Two Agriculture Threats
BALTIMORE—The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed November 5 that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists at the Baltimore Seaport discovered two new agriculture threats in the Baltimore area when they intercepted, Monacha ocellata, a type of snail, while inspecting a shipment of furniture from Vietnam on October 18 and Urochloa panicoides, a weed known as Panic Liverseed Grass, while inspecting a shipment of corn from Argentina on September 19.
Snails may pose a significant agriculture threat because they cause damage by feeding on agricultural and horticultural crops as well as native plants, thereby lowering crop yields and crop quality.
Panic Liverseed Grass is listed as a Federal Noxious Weed by the USDA and is known to be invasive which can lead to reduced crop yields and crop quality.
“CBP agriculture specialists are very good at detecting foreign invasive plants and plant pests,” said Susan Thomas acting CBP port director for the Port of Baltimore. “This discovery highlights the importance of the work they do, part of which is protecting the U.S. agriculture industry.”
The snails were discovered on the outside of a container of furniture from Vietnam. As the snails were found on the outside of the container CBP and USDA allowed the removal of the furniture from the container under supervision. Further inspection of the furniture and the inside of the container did not produce any more snails. Specimens of the snails were forwarded to a USDA- Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) - Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) identifier for identification. The furniture was released and the container was subsequently fumigated.
The Panic Liverseed Grass seeds were discovered within two containers of bulk corn from Argentina that were intended for use in animal feed. The containers were safeguarded and specimens of the seeds were forwarded to a USDA- APHIS - PPQ identifier for identification. CBP issued an Emergency Action Notice to the importer and the entire shipment of corn was released under USDA guidance for grinding which eliminates any possibility of the weeds seeds to propagate.
CBP agriculture specialists work closely with USDA’s, APHIS, PPQ to protect our nation’s agriculture resources against the introduction of foreign plants, plant pests, and animal diseases.
For more on the USDA, APHIS, PPQ program, please visit: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/index.shtml.
CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection. On a typical day, they inspect tens of thousands of international air passengers, and air and sea cargoes nationally being imported to the United States and seize 4,919 prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products, including 476 insect pests.