Houston -U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists working at the Bush Intercontinental air cargo facility intercepted a pest and a plant disease during separate inspections. Neither of these interceptions had ever been reported at the cargo facility, here.
CBP agriculture specialists discovered a shipment containing imported fresh flowers with plant disease among the flowers, leaves and stems. A sample of the diseased portion of the flower was collected and sent to the United States Department of Agriculture Plant Inspection Station for identification. The specimen was then forwarded to a national identifier at the Smithsonian Institute, who on September 16, identified the disease as, Stigmina, a fungus that destroys the green leafy part of plants. It was also determined that CBP has not encountered this plant disease at the air cargo facility before this interception.
Earlier in September, CBP agriculture specialists discovered an insect nestled and feeding on Sage herbs. The insect was collected and sent to the USDA entomologist for identification. The specimen was subsequently forwarded to a national identifier at the Smithsonian Institute and on September 7, a national identifier determined that the insect was a stinkbug from the Pentatomidae family. This species had not previously been intercepted at the Houston air cargo facility. These kinds of insects feed on and destroy other insects as well as a wide variety of crops including corn, peach, pecan, tomato and cotton.
"These two interceptions are the most recent examples of the careful diligence our agriculture specialists exhibit as they examine imported shipments for harmful pests and diseases," said Houston CBP Director of Field Operations Jeffrey O. Baldwin Sr.
The shipments of flowers and herbs were destroyed.
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.