Houston - U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists intercepted a first-time-in-port plant disease during a routine inspection of dried palm leaves. The shipment arrived at George Bush Intercontinental Airport Air Cargo from Brazil, Oct. 18.
A CBP agriculture specialist noticed a visible sign of disease on several sections of the palm leaves. Several samples were submitted to the local Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service identifiers.
The APHIS identifier determined the disease to be Chalara urceolata Nag Raj & W.B. Kendr. (Hyphomycetes) It is a saprobic fungus of dead stems mainly found in herbaceous plants, and is known to occur in Europe, the United Kingdom, Ireland and New Zealand. Its presence on decorative materials will speed the process of deterioration, which minimizes the quality appearance of products.
This interception is a result of the collaboration efforts between a multi-agency Pest Risk Assessment Committee. It consists of U.S. Department of Agriculture, Texas Department of Agriculture, and Customs and Border Protection. Their primary objective is to analyze data and intelligence to determine whether the information is conducive for a special operation, project, or other resolution. Additionally, they review existing agriculture programs, identify training needs between agencies, and communicate with industry and stakeholders.
The palm leaves shipment was subsequently 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.