Pests found in luggage do not curry favor
DALLAS - U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) seized fresh curry leaves found inside a passenger’s luggage, July 17.
CBP seized over 5.5 ounces of fresh curry leaves (Murraya koenigii) from a traveler arriving from Vietnam. Curry leaf is a restricted item because it is known to harbor pests associated with citrus diseases.
The traveler declared carrying fish in her luggage; however, “Gadget” indicated there could be much more than what the passenger had declared. Gadget is a CBP Agriculture K9 specializing in locating agriculture items that could potentially carry unwanted pests.
Also found within the prohibited curry leaves was Asian citrus psyllid (Diaphorina citri Kuwayama Liviidae). This pest originated in Asia and was first detected in Florida in 1998. Asian citrus psyllid causes damage to citrus trees because it vectors bacteria responsible for one of the most devastating citrus diseases, Huanglongbing, also known as citrus greening. This disease has cost the U.S. citrus industry billions in lost revenue.
“CBP agriculture specialists and their canine partners work diligently to detect harmful, invasive plants and pests that could be detrimental to our nation’s agriculture industry, " said CBP Dallas Port Director Cleatus P. Hunt, Jr. “Their work is an important part of CBP’s mission.”
Travelers can check the general admissibility of fruits and vegetables by consulting the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service or the Fruits and Vegetables Import Requirements (FAVIR) database. Additional information on the importation of plants and plant products can be found on the CBP Information Center web page.
The passenger was issued a penalty and the seized items were destroyed.
On a typical day in fiscal year 2016, CBP agriculture specialists discovered 404 pests at U.S. ports of entry and 4,638 materials for quarantine.