AGUADILLA, PUERTO RICO—An entomologist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed recently that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Agriculture Specialists made a first in port discovery of an insect within an imported air cargo shipment of avocados arriving at the Rafael Hernandez International Airport.
On October 8, CBP Agriculture Specialists at the Aguadilla Port had intercepted an insect on a shipment of avocados (Persea sp.). This insect was identified on October 9 by USDA-PPQ as Brevipalpus sp. (A/R) which is an actionable pest and a "First Time in Port" interception.
Several other actionable pests have been intercepted in Puerto Rico ports this month. Among those identified by USDA-APHIS-PPQ as actionable pests and discovered by CBPA Agriculture Specialists this month are Coccotrypes sp., Frankliniella sp. and Copitarsia sp., Ancognatha scarabaeoides, Lepidoptera, species of (A/R), Ancognatha scarabaeoides Erichson (A/R) and Aphididae, species of (A/R).
In these cases, CBP issues an Emergency Action Notification to the importer requiring the shipment to be re-exported or fumigated. The shipments were safeguarded and transferred to USDA for treatment.
"I would like to recognize the outstanding work that Agriculture Specialists at the San Juan Field Office perform daily", said Mirella Couto, San Juan Assistant Director of Field Operations for Trade. "These discoveries are a significant accomplishment, as well as a sobering warning of potential agricultural threats."
CBP agriculture specialists work closely with USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) to protect our nation's agriculture resources against the introduction of foreign plant pests and animal diseases.
CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection. Their duties include inspecting tens of thousands of international air passengers and air and sea cargo that arrive into the United States each day and intercepting numerous actionable pests, or those identified through scientific risk assessment and study as being dangerous to the health and safety of U.S. agricultural resources.
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.