BALTIMORE – A U.S. Department of Agriculture malacologist confirmed Monday that U. S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations agriculture specialists discovered a new pest in the Baltimore area when they intercepted, Acusta sp., a type of snail, while inspecting a container of aluminum sheets from China on Sept. 10.
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.
“CBP agriculture specialists are very good at detecting foreign invasive plants and plant pests,” said Dianna Bowman, CBP Area 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 snail was discovered at the Baltimore seaport on the outside of a shipping container of aluminum sheets from China destined for Baltimore. CBP safeguarded the shipment and forwarded the snail specimen to USDA - Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service - Plant Protection and Quarantine for identification. The local identifier tentatively identified the snail as Acusta sp. which was confirmed by the USDA national malacologist, Sept. 20. The shipment of aluminum sheets was subsequently fumigated and released.
CBP agriculture specialists work closely with USDA to protect our nation’s agriculture resources against the introduction of foreign plant pests and animal diseases.
Visit PPQ program for more on USDA’s plant protection mission.
CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection. On a typical day nationally, they inspect almost 1 million people as well as air and sea cargo imported to the United States and intercept 4,379 prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products, including 440 insect pests.
Visit Agriculture Protection to learn how CBP protects American agriculture.
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.