JAMAICA, N.Y.—U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists at John F. Kennedy International Airport recently intercepted Mediterranean fruit fly on fresh pomegranate arils arriving from Peru.
“Our frontline agriculture specialists did an excellent job and found a significant pest within this large amount of fruit hidden,” said Robert E. Perez, director of CBP’s New York Field Operations. “This recent interception shows how our agriculture specialists help protect American agriculture and preserve the nation’s economic security by denying entry of invasive species to the United States.”
On April 22, CBP agriculture specialists performing an inspection of fresh Pomegranate Arils, originating from Peru, discovered a fly larva among the shipment. The larva was captured and sent to the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Inspection Station (PIS) for further analysis. It was confirmed by the PIS to be the Ceratitis capitata; more commonly known as the Mediterranean fruit fly or medfly. The medfly is a particularly harmful threat to more than 260 kinds of domestic fruits, flowers, vegetables and nuts.
Three options exist in eliminating the pest threat: It can be re-exported under direct CBP supervision, destroyed by incineration under direct CBP supervision, or fumigated using Methyl Bromide under USDA/APHIS supervision.
This discovery in the Arils is a significant find. Historically, arils have demonstrated a low propensity to pest risk, much less a significant pest like medfly.
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.