Philadelphia - Despite snails being notoriously slow, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists ended the nearly 4,000 mile journey of a Kentish snail Tuesday after it arrived aboard a shipping container from Germany. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologist confirmed today that this is the first time a Kentish snail was intercepted in the Port of Philadelphia.
CBP agriculture specialists discovered the snail while inspecting a shipment of home furnishings, placed a salt ring around the container as a precaution, and submitted the discovery to the USDA pest identifier.
A national USDA entomologist identified the pest as a Monacha cantiana (Montagu), commonly known as a Kentish snail. The Kentish snail is known to occur in Europe and is considered a major threat to agriculture crops, gardens and landscapes.
"Protecting America's agriculture industry is an enormous responsibility, and Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists take their job very seriously," said Allan Martocci, CBP port director for the Area Port of Philadelphia. "Each CBP insect pest interception emphasizes the importance of their efforts and a First in Port discovery is worth noting -- as both a significant milestone and as a warning to a new potential agriculture threat."
CBP issued an Emergency Action Notification that required the container to be thoroughly treated or re-exported.
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 4,291 prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products, including 454 insect pests.
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.