U.S. steps up fight against Khapra beetle
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it will enforce a federal quarantine order starting July 30 that restricts the import of rice into the United States from countries with known Khapra beetle infestations.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has issued a restriction on rice imports from countries known to have Khapra beetle, due to an increasing number of detections at U.S. ports of entry of infested rice shipments of rice from these countries. The pest poses a serious threat to stored agricultural products, including spices, grains and packaged foods.
Noncommercial quantities of rice from countries where Khapra beetle is known to occur will also be prohibited from entering the United States. Noncommercial quantities are defined as amounts of rice for personal use and not for resale, including those transported in international passenger baggage, by mail or courier.
In addition, commercial shipments of rice originating from countries where Khapra beetle is known to occur must be inspected and accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate with an additional declaration stating that the shipment was inspected and found free of Khapra beetle. A phytosanitary certificate or phytosanitary certificate of re-export with the same additional declaration will be required for commercial shipments of rice originating from countries known to have Khapra beetle that make entry into another country before re-exportation to the United States.
These restrictions apply to rice shipments from Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cyprus, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and United Arab Emirates.
According to APHIS, previous detections of Khapra beetle have resulted in massive, long-term control and eradication efforts at great cost to the American taxpayer. Established infestations are difficult to control because the beetle can survive without food for long periods of time, requires little moisture, hides in tiny cracks and crevices, and is relatively resistant to many insecticides and fumigants, CBP and APHIS explained.
'In the U.S., infestation can result in the loss of export markets. If the Khapra beetle became established in the United States, other countries would likely place restrictions on imports of U.S. grain, cereal products, or seed,' the agencies warned.
This year, CBP agriculture specialists have made 100 Khapra beetle interceptions at U.S. ports of entry compared to three to six per year in 2005 and 2006, and averaging about 15 per year from 2007 to 2009.