U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists in Louisville have been busy this spring experiencing a large increase in items that cause a threat to farming communities.
One of the most common items seized by these specialists is live plants and seeds for planting. Most of the shipments come from China and are prohibited under the Plant Protection Act (PPA) because they lack the required permits and certificates. Live plants and seeds are high risk for plant pests, including insects, diseases, and weeds.
Additionally, a lot of animal products have been seized. These items are prohibited entry because they carry livestock diseases. One such seizure was declared as “plastic samples” but was foil bags of duck tongues, a delicacy in China. Other items commonly seized are live eggs for hatching. These are prohibited because hatching eggs can carry Newcastle disease and Avian Influenza.
And the shippers of these items’ mis-manifest or hide their contraband in their packages: insect eggs smuggled inside stuffed animals, pears from Korea, manifested as Hair Band, and strawberries from China, manifested as Ladies Sweater pose a risk of various plant pests, including Oriental Fruit Fly.
The Port of Louisville is first in the nation for the number of Emergency Action Notifications (EANs) documentation issued during the first half of fiscal year 2021. Louisville has issued 6,256 EANs, which is a 186% increase compared to their totals for the first half of fiscal year 2020.
“Live plants can harbor pests and diseases that, if introduced into our agriculture systems or natural resources, could cause significant damage to our food supply or native species,” said Thomas Mahn, Port Director-Louisville. “Our agriculture specialists are dedicated to protecting these essential American resources from foreign pests and diseases.”