INTERNATIONAL FALLS, MINN.—U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists recently discovered a potentially destructive commodity at the International Falls rail facility.
Two separate shipments of willow baskets arriving from China via Canada were targeted by CBP on February 8, for an intensive agriculture examination. The shipments destined to New York and Indiana, were offloaded and the product was inspected for potential wood pests and disease.
During the inspection of the rail container, 990 cases containing willow baskets were examined that resulted in the discovery of materials capable of propagation. Although the willow appeared relatively dry, sprouting buds and flexible tissue were discovered on the untreated willow, making it capable of propagation. (Salix sp.), commonly known as willow, is prohibited from various countries because of its risk of spreading watermark disease. It is also host to several wood-boring pests such as the Asian longhorn beetle (ALB). The potential impact to the U.S. forests for ALB alone is valued at over two trillion dollars. A total of 7,920 baskets were intercepted and sent for destruction because they posed a significant plant pest threat to U.S. species and forests.
"These agriculture seizures show the significant priority CBP places on our agriculture inspection program at our ports of entry, "said International Falls Port Director Kristine Lessard.
CBP agriculture specialists are the front line in the fight against the introduction of harmful insects and diseases into the U.S. They safeguard American agriculture by stopping plant pests and exotic foreign animal diseases that could harm vital agriculture resources at our nation's borders.
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.