Seattle - The past six weeks have kept U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists stationed at the Seattle seaport busy intercepting wood-boring insects and other potential agricultural pests arriving from locations all over the globe.
On February 23, agriculture specialists examining a container of handicrafts and spices from the African country of Djibouti found rice and millet packing material that are prohibited because they potentially harbor plant diseases that could be devastating to American agriculture.
In March, CBP agriculture specialists discovered Cerambycidae, the scientific family name for long-horned beetles, arriving in five ocean containers from Turkey, and in one container each from Vietnam, Bulgaria, and Korea. These wood-boring insects, which could potentially ravage U.S. forests, were discovered burrowed into wood pallets carrying various commodities such as glazed floor tiles, plastics, ceramics and excavator parts.
On March 26, agriculture specialists examined a container of machine parts from China, and found wheat seeds. These seeds have the same potential to do harm as the rice and millet packing material intercepted earlier. On April 5, another container from Vietnam was examined, and found to contain the potentially devastating federal noxious weed Pennisetum Polystachion - common name Mission Grass. Such weeds are prohibited under the United States Department of Agriculture's Federal Noxious Weed regulations, which are designed to prevent the introduction or spread of non-indigenous invasive plants in the United States.
"These interceptions highlight the diligent work that CBP agriculture specialists perform in safeguarding American agriculture from harmful pests and plant diseases," said Area Port Director Rolando Suliveras, Jr.
In all of the recent discoveries, CBP agriculture specialists ordered immediate export of the cargo from the United States, or in a few cases, permitted the ocean containers to be treated in specific ways that totally destroy the pest risks.
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.