Torrance, Calif. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists intercepted fruit flies in mail parcels at the international mail facility.
On June 4, CBP agriculture specialists, while inspecting a parcel described as dry food from Mexico, discovered fresh mangoes. Upon further examination of the mangoes, it was discovered that they were infested with live larvae. The incident was the second interception of mangoes infested with larvae coming from Mexico in less than two weeks.
"CBP agriculture specialists have an extremely important role in protecting our agriculture industry," said Carlos C. Martel, CBP area port director of Los Angeles International Airport. "Constant vigilance by CBP agriculture specialists cannot be over emphasized in protecting America's agriculture."
The larva was collected and sent to a U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologist for identification. The USDA entomologist informed CBP that the larvae was actionable, meaning it poses a risk to the U.S. agriculture industry and determined to be Anastrepha sp. (Tephritidae), a type of fruit fly.
Fruit flies have the potential to cause serious damage to fruit and other plant crops. Eradication and quarantine efforts can be extremely costly and have a significant economic impact. The mangoes were destroyed under CBP supervision.
On a typical day in 2009, CBP agriculture specialists seized more than 4,291 prohibited plants, meat and animal byproducts and intercepted 454 agricultural pests that could have potentially harmed America'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.