STERLING, Va. – A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) identifier confirmed Monday that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists at Washington Dulles International Airport discovered a new pest in the Washington area when they intercepted an Otala sp. (Helicidae), a type of snail, while inspecting an air cargo shipment of fresh flowers from the Netherlands on March 1.
Snails may pose a significant threat to agriculture because they cause damage by feeding on agricultural and horticultural crops as well as native plants, thereby lowering crop yields and quality.
“CBP agriculture specialists take their job of detecting foreign invasive plants and plant pests very seriously,” said Patrick Orender, CBP Assistant Port Director for the Port of Washington Dulles. “This is another example of our agriculture specialists performing a thorough inspection and finding a new potential threat to the U.S. agriculture industry.”
The snail was discovered in a 300-stem shipment of flowers from the Netherlands destined for Silver Spring, Md. CBP forwarded the snail to a USDA - Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) - Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) identifier for classification.
CBP issued an Emergency Action Notification to the importer requiring the shipment to be re-exported or destroyed. The importer elected to have the shipment destroyed by steam sterilization under CBP agriculture specialist supervision.
CBP agriculture specialists work closely with USDA’s, APHIS, PPQ to protect our nation’s agriculture resources against the introduction of foreign plant pests and animal diseases.
Click to learn more about the USDA's APHIS PPQ program.
CBP Agriculture Specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection. On a typical day nationally, they inspect over 1 million people as well as air and sea cargo imported to the United States and intercept 4,657 prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products, including 464 agriculture pests and diseases.
Click to learn more about CBP's agriculture protection mission.
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.