Pembina, N.D. - This past summer, CBP agriculture specialists throughout the Area Port of Pembina had a large number of agriculture interceptions.
In the months of June, July, and August, CBP agriculture specialists and CBP officers from various ports throughout North Dakota and Minnesota confiscated more than 8,000 fruit and plant items from travelers entering the United States. Of the items seized, 26 resulted in penalties of up to $300. Eighteen of the interceptions were determined to be infested with insects or diseases of plant products that pose a threat to the U.S. agriculture industry.
"These agriculture seizures show the significant priority CBP places on our agriculture inspection program at our ports of entry," said Pembina Area Port Director Mary Delaquis.
One significant pest interception made this summer was the discovery of several Phlaeothripidae or thrips at the Portal, N.D. port of entry. The thrips were discovered in a commercial shipment of pottery.
Thrips are small winged insects that feed on plant parts by puncturing the host with their mouthparts and sucking out the plant juices. They are considered major pests because they often attack commercially traded plants and crops. They feed on developing flowers, fruits or vegetables, causing discoloration, deformities, and reduced marketability of the crop. Thrips may also serve as an avenue for the introduction of plant diseases.
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 agricultural 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.