Éditoriaux Défense Sécurité Terrorisme Zones de conflits Logistique Livres de référence Liens
Terre Air Mer Gendarmerie Renseignement Infoguerre Cyber Recherche

Help Protect American Agriculture, Natural Resources

Help Protect American Agriculture, Natural Resources

By Rudi Williams, American Forces Press Service.

Washington D.C. -- May 18, 2001 (AFPS) -- Many travelers have asked, "Why did customs take my ham and cheese sandwich and apple?"

In fact, U.S. Customs Service inspectors don't take people's snacks. What they do is tell Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service inspectors that someone coming from overseas is carrying food.

And there's a good reason Customs tells on travelers. They're safeguarding U.S. agriculture and natural resources from pests and diseases. They're helping to save Americans hundreds of millions of dollars in higher prices for food and other agricultural products and in the cost of control and eradication programs.

Consequently, service members and their families need to know USDA rules on items they can bring home to the United States from foreign countries, as well as those brought to the mainland from Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Some of the most notorious and varied pest hitchhikers are microscopic insects, disease agents and weed seeds that lurk in soil and plant parts, officials said. When entering the United States, travelers are required to declare any meats, fruits, vegetables, plants, animals, and plant and animal products with them. That declaration must cover all items carried in baggage and hand luggage and in vehicles.

Most foreign fresh, dried and canned meats and meat products are prohibited. An exception is canned shelf-stable hams. Commercially produced hard cheese is allowable if the product doesn't contain meat. Generally, all other animal products should be considered prohibited unless the Agriculture Department has given specific clearance for entry.

Some plants may be imported legally and safely if USDA guidelines are followed.

The USDA's biggest battle now is against the introduction of foot-and-mouth disease into the United States. The effort includes working with the Defense Department to ensure military personnel and their equipment don't come home with anything that could cause problems. All personnel and their baggage are subject to inspection before their departure and again upon arrival in the United States to protect against the threat of foot-and-mouth disease.

Animal disease organisms, such as those that cause foot-and-mouth disease and swine fever, can live for months in sausage and other types of meat, including many types of canned meat from foreign countries.

Countries with active outbreaks of the foot-and-mouth disease include the United Kingdom, France, Argentina and the Netherlands. Other European countries are also considered at risk for potential outbreaks.

In addition to human inspectors, the USDA has a Beagle Brigade out in force sniffing travelers and their luggage at ports of entry. The detector dogs are searching for food -- prohibited fruits, plants and meat. A third tool is low -- energy X-ray machines adapted to reveal concealed fruits and meats. Travelers who fail to declare a prohibited item can be fined up to $250 on the spot and have their items confiscated.

Officials said one piece of fruit or meat may contain many microscopic pests, and one carelessly discarded item could devastate crops and livestock. For example, they said it's likely that a traveler carried in a wormy piece of fruit that brought hitchhiking Mediterranean fruit flies to California in 1979. A three-year fight to eradicate the pest cost more than $100 million.

Fruits, vegetables and meats aren't the only products that carry harmful diseases into the United States. Live animals and birds can harbor diseases such as the exotic, highly contagious Newcastle disease. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regulates the importation of certain animal species and has specific regulations regarding pets, including dogs and cats, and non-human primates.

USDA officials also said that military personnel, DoD civilian employees and their families should ensure their personal property, including privately owned vehicles, doesn't harbor pests.

o Clean vehicles before shipping, paying particular attention to tires, wheel wells and undercarriage.

o Garden tools, bicycles and other outdoor items should be carefully examined for dirt, soil or manure.

o Any dirty or soiled item should be cleaned with soapy water.

Insects and diseases can hide in packing material made from agricultural products like straw and burlap. Some pests can live on packing material for a long time without food. The tiny brownish-black khapra beetle, for example, can hide and survive for up to three years in the folds of burlap. It goes on a rampage when it reaches a supply of grain, officials said.

Officials said no packages should be mailed to the United States that contain foods or other prohibited or restricted items. Don't mail sausages, meat products or soiled items. Service members are advised to check with APO and FPO personnel if they have further questions.

For up-to-date USDA travel information, call 1-866-SAFGUARD (723-4827). Travelers can also look in the phone book under "U.S. Department of Agriculture" for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's nearest Plant Protection and Quarantine Office or visit the agency's home page on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov.

Other related sites:

The USDA's online

"Travelers' Tips on Bringing Food, Plant and Animal Products into the United States" booklet is at. Pdf files require the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view "http://www.adobe.com" .

Illustrated history of the USDA Beagle Brigade.

Illustrated fact sheet on foot-and-mouth disease.

Importation rules for animals and animal products in general. Rules for returning with pets.

The U.S. Customs Service travel Web site at has links to access online brochures and fact sheets including "Know Before You Go," No. 0000-0512, and "Moving Household Goods to the United States: A Guide to Customs Regulations," booklet 0000-0518.

Online U.S. State Department travel publications..

The State Department's Affairs Consular home page at travel.state.gov/index.html has links to access information on travel, passports, children's citizenship and birth certificate issues, and more.



Derniers articles

Verdun 2016 : La légende de la « tranchée des baïonnettes »
Eyes in the Dark: Navy Dive Helmet Display Emerges as Game-Changer
OIR Official: Captured Info Describes ISIL Operations in Manbij
Cyber, Space, Middle East Join Nuclear Triad Topics at Deterrence Meeting
Carter Opens Second DoD Innovation Hub in Boston
Triomphe de St-Cyr : le Vietnam sur les rangs
Dwight D. Eisenhower Conducts First OIR Missions from Arabian Gulf
L’amiral Prazuck prend la manœuvre de la Marine
Airmen Practice Rescuing Downed Pilots in Pacific Thunder 16-2
On ne lutte pas contre les moustiques avec une Kalachnikov...
Enemy Mine: Underwater Drones Hunt Buried Targets, Save Lives
Daesh Publications Are Translated Into Eleven Languages
Opération Chammal : 10 000 heures de vol en opération pour les Mirage 2000 basés en Jordanie
Le Drian : Daech : une réponse à plusieurs niveaux
Carter: Defense Ministers Agree on Next Steps in Counter-ISIL Fight
Carter Convenes Counter-ISIL Coalition Meeting at Andrews
Carter Welcomes France’s Increased Counter-ISIL Support
100-Plus Aircraft Fly in for Exercise Red Flag 16-3
Growlers Soar With B-1s Around Ellsworth AFB
A-10s Deploy to Slovakia for Cross-Border Training
We Don’t Fight Against Mosquitoes With a Kalashnikov
Bug-Hunting Computers to Compete in DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge
Chiefs of US and Chinese Navies Agree on Need for Cooperation
DoD Cyber Strategy Defines How Officials Discern Cyber Incidents from Armed Attacks
Vice Adm. Tighe Takes Charge of Information Warfare, Naval Intelligence
Truman Strike Group Completes Eight-Month Deployment
KC-46 Completes Milestone by Refueling Fighter Jet, Cargo Plane
Air Dominance and the Critical Role of Fifth Generation Fighters
Une nation est une âme
The Challenges of Ungoverned Spaces
Carter Salutes Iraqi Forces, Announces 560 U.S. Troops to Deploy to Iraq
Obama: U.S. Commitment to European Security is Unwavering in Pivotal Time for NATO
International Court to Decide Sovereignty Issue in South China Sea
La SPA 75 est centenaire !
U.S. to Deploy THAAD Missile Battery to South Korea
Maintien en condition des matériels : reprendre l’initiative
La veste « léopard », premier uniforme militaire de camouflage
Océan Indien 2016 : Opérations & Coopération
Truman Transits Strait of Gibraltar
Navy Unveils National Museum of the American Sailor
New Navy, Old Tar
Marcel Dassault parrain de la nouvelle promotion d’officiers de l’École de l’Air
RIMPAC 2016 : Ravitaillement à la mer pour le Prairial avant l’arrivée à Hawaii
Bataille de la Somme, l’oubliée
U.S., Iceland Sign Security Cooperation Agreement
Cléopatra : la frégate Jean Bart entre dans l’histoire du BPC Gamal Abdel Nasser
Surveiller l’espace maritime français aussi par satellite
America's Navy-Marine Corps Team Fuse for RIMPAC 2016
Stratégie France : Plaidoyer pour une véritable coopération franco-allemande
La lumière du Droit rayonne au bout du chemin

Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).