San Francisco, Calif. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists in San Francisco had several significant interceptions over the past couple of weeks. On January 26, they discovered fruit fly larvae in mangos coming from Mexico; the package was destined for Utah, and the shipper did not declare the fruits.
Three days later, CBP agriculture canine detector dogs sniffed out two separate shipments of prohibited meat products. In the first shipment, coming from China, the package contained poultry heads, feet, and wings, along with a variety of pork products. The second shipment, which originated in Tibet, contained 1.28 kilos of beef jerky. Then, last Thursday, agriculture specialists seized 64 Asian Pears discovered by a CBP agriculture canine detector dog. The pears were carried by a passenger arriving from China.
Prohibited plant products can contain a variety of pests and diseases. Should a piece of fruit infested with fruit fly larvae be transported across our borders, it could enable the pest to become established in the United States. The losses caused by this invasive species could amount to well over a billion dollars over five years, according to USDA experts. These losses would come in the form of export sanctions, lost markets, treatment costs, and reduced crop yields - all of which are of major concern to U.S. growers.
Poultry products are prohibited to prevent the entry of Exotic Newcastle Disease and Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. Pork products are prohibited to prevent the entry of Foot and Mouth Disease, as well as numerous other livestock diseases of concern.
"CBP agriculture specialists continue to work diligently to keep harmful pests and plants, and prohibited food items from crossing our international borders. The work that CBP conducts at the San Francisco Air Mail Center is intended to safeguard the nation's crops from foreign intrusion of pests and prohibited plants and to help prevent the spread of dangerous livestock diseases," said San Francisco CBP Director of Field Operations Richard Vigna.
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.