Portal, N.D. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists at the Portal, N.D., port of entry have intercepted citrus fruit infected with a serious plant disease.
On two occasions in October, CBP agriculture specialists intercepted mandarin oranges that were infected with citrus black spot disease from travelers in vehicles arriving from Canada. The travelers were destined to Sun Belt states, where citrus industries could be devastated by the introduction of this disease.
Citrus black spot, formally known as Guignardia citricarpa Kiely, is an invasive plant disease not yet present in the U.S. It is considered to be one of the most important diseases of citrus in the world. Establishment of black spot in the U.S. could severely impact domestic citrus production and devastate export sales. The fungus causes lesions that make the fruit unsuitable for the fresh fruit market and can cause extensive premature fruit drop that reduces yields of fruit for processing.
The interceptions at Portal emphasize the importance of agriculture inspections at the Canadian border. There are many types of fresh fruit, vegetables and live plants that may legally enter Canada from tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world. Mandarin oranges are one example. These same items are not allowed into the United States because they can harbor plant pests and diseases that could severely impact US agriculture.
CBP agriculture specialists are the first line of defense in protecting our borders from prohibited items which carry harmful pests and diseases that could adversely affect our food production. "These are significant interceptions by our CBP agriculture specialists in Portal." said Mary Delaquis, Pembina area port director.
CBP wants to remind travelers not to attempt to bring fruits, meats, dairy or poultry products, or firewood into the United States from Canada without first checking whether they are permitted. They should also declare to CBP all agriculture products they may be carrying to avoid fines and delays. Travelers can check for restrictions on agricultural products by contacting a CBP agriculture specialist at (701) 825-6551 extension 234.
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.