PHARR, Texas –Agriculture specialists with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry recently detected a rare pest within a commercial shipment of mixed vegetables.
“Our vigilant CBP agriculture specialists at the Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry helped safeguard American agriculture by intercepting this unique, and possibly destructive pest,” said Acting Port Director Javier Cantu, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry. “This is a significant find in that it was determined to be a first in the nation interception.”
On June 14, 2015 a shipment of fresh cilantro and mixed vegetables arrived at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge, cargo facility. A CBP officer referred the shipment for a mandatory secondary agriculture inspection due to the commodity. During the inspection, a CBP agriculture specialist observed a live insect amid the cilantro. Upon closer examination of the specimen by U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologists, the insect was positively identified as Graphocephala appropinquans (Fowler). This insect belongs to the Cicadelliadae family, commonly known as leafhoppers, which feed on plant sap and may be vectors of crop damaging plant diseases.
The insect was positively identified as being a unique interception within the United States, a first-in-the-nation detection. The shipment of mixed vegetables was refused entry and returned to Mexico.
CBP agriculture specialists are the front line in the fight against the introduction of harmful insects and diseases into the U.S. and they safeguard American agriculture by detecting and preventing entry into the country of plant pests and exotic foreign animal diseases that could harm 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.