Philadelphia —The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed Tuesday that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists at the Philadelphia Seaport made a first in nation pest discovery when they intercepted, Parepitragus pulverulentus Denticeps, a type of beetle, while inspecting a shipment of grapes from Peru on December 14.
Beetles may pose a significant agriculture threat because they cause damage by feeding on agricultural crops as well as native plants, thereby lowering crop yields and crop quality.
“CBP agriculture specialists take their job of detecting foreign invasive plants and plant pests very seriously,” said Tarance Drafts, acting CBP port director for the Port of Philadelphia. “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 beetles were discovered within a shipment of 1,700 boxes of grapes from Peru. Specimens of the beetles were forwarded to a USDA- Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) - Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) entomologist for identification.
CBP issued an Emergency Action Notification to the importer requiring the shipment to be cold treated, re-exported, or destroyed. The importer chose the cold treatment option.
CBP agriculture specialists work closely with USDA’s, APHIS, PPQ to protect our nation’s agriculture resources against the introduction of foreign plants, plant pests, and animal diseases.
For more on the USDA, APHIS, PPQ program, please visit USDA.gov.
CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection. On a typical day, they inspect tens of thousands of international air passengers, and air and sea cargoes nationally being imported to the United States and seize 4,919 prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products, including 476 insect pests.
To learn more about CBP agriculture specialists, please visit Which CBP Career is Right for You?
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.