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USDA confirms CBP makes first-in-nation pest discovery

USDA confirms CBP makes first-in-nation pest discovery

HICAGO: The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed that US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists at the Port of Chicago made a first-in-nation pest discovery when they intercepted Phyllotreta vittula Redtenbacher (Chrysomelidae), a type of beetle, while inspecting a shipment of rhubarb stems from the Netherlands.

Beetles may pose a significant agriculture threat because they can cause damage by feeding on agricultural crops as well as native plants, thereby lowering crop yields and quality.

“CBP agriculture specialists are at the forefront in the detection of foreign invasive plants and plant pests,” said Chicago Port Director Matthew Davies. “This discovery and identification of a new potential threat to the U.S. agriculture industry resulted from CBP and the USDA working together to protect the nation’s agriculture resources.”

The beetle was discovered within a shipment of 10 boxes of rhubarb stems from the Netherlands. The specimen of the beetle was 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 who opted to treat the shipment.  Following CBP procedures the shipment was treated and released.

CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection. CBP agriculture specialists also work closely with USDA APHIS PPQ to protect our nation’s agriculture resources against the introduction of foreign plants, plant pests, and animal diseases.