CBP Seizes Prohibited Meat, Intercepts Destructive Pest
Agriculture specialists protect American natural resources
DALLAS -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists stationed at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, were notified March 27 that they intercepted one of the most feared pests, Khapra beetles, from a passenger’s baggage when they intercepted beans containing immature insects.
Khapra beetle, Trogoderma granarium Everts (Dermestidae), is considered the world’s most destructive insect for its ability to destroy stored grain, cereal, and stored foods; it is the only insect that requires regulatory action, whether encountered dead or alive. In the U.S., there are six states which have the most potential for establishment because of their hot dry climates. Those states are: Arizona, California, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
“CBP agriculture specialists actively safeguard our agriculture industry and food supply by intercepting harmful pests, plant diseases and prohibited food products into the U.S.,” said CBP Port Director Cleatus Hunt. “This seizure and the seizures we affected in years past represents our commitment to protecting American agriculture industry.”
The international traveler arrived to DFW airport from Sudan, he presented a negative custom declarations for any agriculture goods but when asked directly about his declaration, he verbally amended to include bean seeds. However, when CBP agriculture specialists conducted a baggage exam, they discovered cooked boneless beef, cooked and minced sheep meat. Also discovered were bean seeds that contained two immature beetles and three cast skins. All of the food items were seized and the insects found in the beans were sent to U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologists for identification.
According to the USDA, the Khapra beetle is one of the 100 worst invasive species worldwide. If the beetle is left undisturbed in stored grain, it can cause significant grain loss, and in the case of seeds, it can lead to significant reduction in seed viability.
Since October 2014, CBP agriculture specialists at DFW have intercepted 24 Khapra beetle interceptions in passenger luggage. In fiscal year 2014 nationwide, CBP agriculture specialists have intercepted Khapra beetles 197 different times, with CBP agriculture specialists working at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport leading these interceptions followed by agriculture specialists in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta- International Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport. So far this year, there have been 98 interceptions of this pest, nationwide.
CBP agriculture specialists have science-based degrees in the areas of agriculture, botany, entomology, biology, or plant pathology; all have the knowledge to recognize questionable and dangerous agricultural commodities.
On a typical day in 2014, CBP agriculture specialists intercepted 425 pests, 4,447 plant pests, and a significant quantity of quarantine material products to include fruits and vegetables, plant materials, meat products, meat by-products, and soil. More information about how CBP protects U.S. agriculture can be found at Protecting Agriculture on the CBP website.
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.