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Destructive stowaway found in rice shipment

Chicago – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently intercepted one of the world’s most destructive pests of grain products and seeds in a shipment of rice arriving from Pakistan into the Port of Chicago.

On July 26, CBP agriculture specialists identified for inspection an incoming sea container from Pakistan containing 1027 bags of rice. Inspection revealed multiple insect life stages of beetles which were immediately submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for final identification.

On July 29, the USDA confirmed that the larvae were, in fact, Trogoderma granarium (Everts), commonly referred to as Khapra Beetle. Accompanying the shipment was an original phytosanitary certificate from Pakistan stating that the shipment had been examined and found free from Khapra Beetle. Due to the manner in which the bags were loaded and the type of bagging material used, the USDA and CBP agreed that refusing entry to the shipment was the best option and re-exportation would be required.

“CBP agriculture specialists continually demonstrate their vigilance in intercepting these extremely destructive pests that could wreak significant damage to our agricultural and economic interests,”said William Ferrara, acting CBP director of field operations in Chicago.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Khapra Beetle is considered one of the worst invasive species worldwide because of its ability to tolerate insecticides, fumigants and its capacity to survive without food for long periods of time. If allowed to become established in the U.S., it is believed that the Khapra Beetle would cause wide-reaching economic impact, negative environmental impact due to increased use of fumigants and increased health risks to consumers.

Currently, invasive species cause an estimated $136 billion in lost agriculture revenue annually. Each day CBP prevents harmful elements like the Khapra Beetle from entering the U.S. at more than 300 ports of entry.

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