CBP finds rare first-in-nation pest in importation of corn.

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A specimen of Cratosomus punctulatus
Gyllenhal
, source: cbp.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Brownsville, Texas intercepted a rare “First in Nation” pest in a shipment of corn.  The interception of the pest occurred at the Los Indios International Bridge import lot in a shipment of fresh corn from Mexico.
When the corn was inspected, CBP officers found the pest and submitted it to a U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologist. The initial identification was later confirmed by a national specialist as Cratosomus punctulatus Gyllenhal (Curculionidae) a pest not known to occur in the United States and intercepted for the first time in the nation.
This is a type of snout weevil that are plant feeders and many weeevils are pests of agricultural crops and forests.
If you have had your shipment seized due to pests or other invasive species, there may be some alternatives besides the ones given to you by Customs – contact experienced wood packing material and pest seizure attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com or dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Houston CBP finds Asian Gypsy Moths and Egg Masses on international vessel.

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Image of egg pods seized in Houston, source: CBP.gov

According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), agriculture specialists from Houston found two dead female Asian Gypsy Moths (AGMs) and 20 Asian Gypsy moth egg masses on the superstructure of an international vessel. CBP was notified of this vessel after they received notification from Japanese inspectors of 52 egg masses and 52 live moths before the vessel departed to the US.

The AGM’s are an invasive species that damages hardwood forests and urban landscapes. CBP says the AGM’s can lay 500-1,000 eggs that become hungry caterpillars, resulting in a potential to defoliate a million acres annually.

When vessels are found to contain invasive pests, Customs requires the vessel and shipment to be re-exported, fumigated, then returned to Houston. According to the media release, the vessel had to depart and return “multiple times” before CBP determined it did not contain AGM or their egg masses.

t of Agriculture (USDA) for identification; the agency confirmed Aug. 2 that the pests were in fact AGM. As required by law, the vessel left the port to receive treatment and to provide verification that it was free from AGM and egg masses.

The vessel had to depart and return multiple times before CBP agriculture specialists determined that it was absolutely free from AGM egg masses.

If you or someone you know has a shipment seized by CBP for containing invasive species or eggs from invasive species, contact experienced trade and customs attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dh@gjatradelaw.com, attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

CBP seizes hatching eggs shipped from the Netherlands.

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Image of hatching eggs, source: cbp media release.

Earlier this month U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the international mail facility in Miami seized 30 suspected hatching eggs. The shipment from the Netherlands is the third shipment intercepted with hatching eggs.

The shipment label identified the shipment as “Children’s Toys”, however an x-ray performed found 30 hatching eggs. Shipment of eggs is allowed, but do require an import permit. The eggs were seized due to the risk they may carry the Exotic Newcastle Disease.

If you have questions about your imports or want to be sure you have the right permits to import, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dh@gjatradelaw.com, attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Delaware CBP reports 2 insect discovery firsts.

Ozodes multituberculatus

Ozodes multituberculatus. source: USDA photo.

CBP agriculture specialists along with the USDA confirmed the first arrival of two insects at the Wilmington, Delaware port.

In early June, CBP agriculture specialists found an long-horned beetle, an invasive species int he US as they bore into wood and can cause extensive damage to trees. The following week, CBP agriculture specialists discovered an adult weevil in pineapples from Guatemala – the weevils post a threat to our domestic grains and crops.

In the event pests are found, the common CBP protocol is to re-export and fumigate the shipment.

If you have had a shipment or container seized due to the presence of pests such as the weevil, beetle or wood boring wasp or other insect, contact experienced fumigation attorney David Hsu by phone/email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, or dh@gjatradelaw.com.

CBP intercept invasive and destructive army ant.

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New World Army Ant, source: CBP website

CBP Agriculture Specialists in Florida discovered a rare pest – a New World army ant confirmed  by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The pest was found during an examination of a malanga – a root vegetable commonly found in South America that arrived on a shipment from Mexico.

Customs reports that last year, CBP agriculture specialists intercepted 319 pests per day and quarantined over 4,552 plants, meat, animal byproducts and soil products.

CBP Beagles find Giant African snails.

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Image of Giant African Snails, source: cbp.gov

Two CBP beagles and CBP Agriculture Specialists found live Giant African Snails in a suitcase along with fruits and vegetables in another.

Seized food products are destroyed and the snails were sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for further evaluation. In both instances, the travelers were not penalized, but warned and advised of the proper declaration of pests and agriculture products.

A quick Google search found a link to an US Department of Agriculture website discussing the Giant African Snail. The snails were first found in Florida in the 1960’s and after 10 years and a $1 million dollars, they were eradicated. Unfortunately, the snails were reintroduced to the US in 2011 and are currently being eradicated. The USDA claims snails consumer over 500 types of plants and can damage plaster and stucco while also caring a parasite that causes meningitis in humans.

CBP seizes caprine (goat) skull from Africa.

caprine skull

Image of seized caprine skull. Source: US CBP

Last week, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Tennessee seized a caprine skull from a shipment originating from the African country of Djibouti.

Shippers from Djibouti described the contents as “gift salt”, however, upon inspection, CBP found a salt-encrusted caprine skull with horns and tissue inside the skull. A goat-antelope is known as a caprine and are usually found in the mountains of Africa, Asia, North America and Europe.

Agriculture inspectors with the USDA seized the item because Djibouti is known to CBP as a country affected by foot and mouth diseases – a disease that was eradicated in the US in 1929.

While importers typically have a means to petition for a release of seized goods – given the nature of this shipment and the hazards posed to US livestock by foot and mouth disease, CBP destroyed the skull using “steam sterilization.”

If you have had any customs seizure or received a letter from the DOT, FDA, USDA, etc regarding seized goods, contact experienced customs seizure attorney David Hsu at attorney.dave@yahoo.com or by phone at 832.896.6288.

German metal producer claims CBP violated due process.

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Photo by Albin Berlin on Pexels.com

This past Sunday, German metal manufacturer (Andritz Sundwig GMHB) claims the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of violating its due process rights when U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) ordered the export of the company’s bug-infested cargo instead of allowing the shipment to be fumigated.

In an emergency complaint filed with the U.S. Court of International Trade, Andritz’s legal counsel (Scott Johnston and James Hurst of Givens & Johnston PLLC and Stacey L.Barnes of Kearney, McWilliams & Davis PLLC) claims CBP’s decision to require the cargo to be exported does not allow Andritz any administrative remedies or opportunities to appeal.

The filing with the CIT claims CBP denied Andritz’s request to fumigate its cargo after horntailed wasps were found in the wood packaging materials (WPM).

Upon notice of a pest infestation, Andrtiz hired fumigators and requested last Friday for CBP authorization to fumigate and separate the infested WPM. Unfortunately, CBP denied those requests and requested exportation of the cargo on Sunday.  In response, Andritz filed a temporary restraining order in addition to a request for declaratory relief along with a temporary protective order on Monday.

More updates will be posted as available.

If you have received an “Emergency Action Notification” from Customs regarding wood packaging materials and or pest infestation, contact attorney David Hsu for immediate assistance at 832-896-6288. Time is of the essence when an EAN is received, call or email attorney.dave@yahoo.com as soon as possible.

APHIS Recognizes Mexico as Free of Classical Swine Fever.

pig-alp-rona-furna-sow-63285.jpegClassical swine fever (CSF or sometimes referred to as hog cholera/swine fever/European swine fever) is a highly contagious viral disease of pigs. CSF used to be widespread but many countries had eradicated the disease until it was reintroduced in 1997-199 (CSF was eradicated in the US in the 1970’s). A 1997 outbreak of CSF in the Netherlands involved more than 400 herds and cost $2.3 billion dollars to eradicate with some 12 million pigs killed.

While eradicated in North America, the US is also not immune to the risk as CSF is still endemic in South and Central America. Because of this, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) previously classified imports of live swine, swine genetics, pork and pork products from Mexico as risky following a 2015 site review.

However, at the request of Mexico’s government, the USDA APHIS has now determined that the risk of CSF through Mexican imports of live swine, swine genetics, pork and pork products is very low. As such, these items can now be saefly imported into the US as long as the imports follow APHIS’ import regulations.

Importations of live swine, swine genetics, pork and pork products must (1) be accompanied by a certificate issued by a Mexican government veterinary officer, (2) must come from swine raised and slaughtered in regions APHIS considers CSF free.

If your company would like more information regarding importation of swine and swine products or other general USDA APHIS concerns, please do not hesitate to contact David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.