Baltimore customs of USA issues emergency notice for re-export of 25,000 kg of Indian  jeera

Washington, March 24:

Nearly 25,000 kg of Indian cumin has been seized in the US after custom agents discovered it was infested with pests, said officials.

The importer has been issued an Emergency Action Notice requiring the shipment of 55,000 pounds of cumin seed to be re-exported, the Baltimore Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said on Wednesday.

During a routine inspection, CBP Officials at the Port of Baltimore discovered that a shipment of cumin seed from India was infested with Khapra beetle larvae.

CBP officials did not discover any live larvae but collected a specimen of the dead larvae and sealed the container.

The specimen was forwarded to a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologist who confirmed it as Trogoderma granarium, commonly known as Khapra beetle.

The Khapra beetle is one of the most destructive pests of stored grains and seeds. Infestations are harder to control because it can survive without food for long periods and is relatively resistant to insecticides and fumigants. The beetle is a native to South Asia. In 2011, the US imposed restrictions on Indian rice imports after finding some of the consignments infested with the deadly pest.

“The Khapra beetle is one of the most invasive insects CBP agriculture specialists encounter,” said Dianna Bowman, CBP Area Port Director for Baltimore.

“And we take our mission to intercept these destructive pests and protect America’s agricultural industry very seriously,” she added.

Body parts and hairs

The Khapra beetle is labelled a ‘dirty feeder’ because it damages more grain than it consumes, and because it contaminates grain with body parts and hairs. These contaminants may cause gastrointestinal irritation in adults and sicken infants.

According to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), previous infestations of the Khapra beetle have resulted in massive, long-term control and eradication efforts at great cost to the American taxpayer.

California implemented extensive eradication measures following a Khapra beetle infestation discovered there in 1953.

(This article was published on March 24, 2016 in The Hindu Business Line)