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October 26, 09

NEWS / CBP Agriculture Specialists Intercept Mediterranean Fruit Fly at Miami International Airport

Miami – U.S. Customs and Border Protection is responsible for ensuring that no intruders enter the United States undetected. This includes intruders of the winged variety. CBP agriculture specialists intercepted one live Ceratitis capitata larvae, Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly) in fruit carried by a passenger arriving at MIA.

On October 11, CBP agriculture specialists examined fresh figs carried by a passenger arriving at MIA from Algeria and intercepted one Ceratitis capitata larvae. The interception was forwarded to the United States Department of Agriculture, Miami Plant Inspection Station where it was identified as Medfly larvae.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal Plant Health Inspection Service regulations, figs from Algeria are prohibited entry to the United States. Fruits were seized, inspected and destroyed under CBP supervision.

The Mediterranean fruit fly is one of the world’s most destructive pests, capable of attacking 260 different fruits, flowers, vegetables and nuts. If this exotic pest were to become established in the United States, the estimated annual loss would be staggering.

“These losses could come in the form of export sanctions, lost markets, treatment costs, reduction of crop yields, damaged fruits, premature fruit drop and plant diseases,” said Harold Woodward, CBP director of Field Operations, Miami Field Office. “CBP will continue to take the appropriate steps to keep this fly and other agricultural pests that pose a threat out of the United States.”

As the frontline border agency of the Department of Homeland Security, preventing acts of terrorism is the primary, but not the only mission of CBP. One of CBPs major duties is to safeguard American agriculture and the nation’s economy by inspecting ships, airplanes, vehicles, cargo, passengers, and their baggage for prohibited agriculture products that may serve as carriers for pests and disease.




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