Houston – U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists (CBPAS) working at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) discovered multiple egg masses and pests inside a commercial shipment of fresh Brazilian papayas.
The pests and eggs masses were sent to the United Stated Department of Agriculture – Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) and were identified as Paracoccus marginatus Williams and Granara De Willink (Pseudococcidae) – also known as papaya mealybug.
The papaya mealybug and egg masses were found in a shipment of 360 boxes of papayas, weighing over 7,000 pounds, destined for Florida.
“CBP agriculture officers at IAH are very thorough and work extremely hard to detect pests,” said CBP Port Director Charles Perez. “Their hard work protects the U.S. agriculture by preventing infestation.”
There is no treatment available for this pest. In situations like this, importers are given an opportunity to re-export the product to the country of origin or destroy the shipment. CBP agriculture specialists around the country enforce U.S. food regulations that must be followed in order to import food for commercial purposes.
On a typical day, CBP agriculture specialists discover 470 pests at U.S. ports of entry. Ultimately, the papayas and pests were destroyed by steam sterilization.
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.