U.S. Customs and Border Protection warns against citrus greening disease
Web Producer: Ashley Guttuso
TUCSON(KGUN9-TV) - U.S. Customs and Border Protection is reminding the traveling public about prohibited agricultural items that may carry Citrus Greening Disease.
Many of these items may be used in celebratory items and decorations for the upcoming Dia de Los Muertos holiday. If carried into the U.S. many of these items could potentially carry harmful pests and diseases, like citrus greening disease, that could devastate the United State's citrus industry.
Murraya or orange jasmine, a common greenery used to construct altars for the holiday, is a host to the Diaphorina citri Kuwayama insect that carries the citrus greening disease, making it prohibited from entering the U.S.
Citrus Greening is a disease caused by a bacterium that can infect most citrus varieties and some ornamental plants. The disease was first found in the U.S. in 2005 in Miami-Dade County, Fla.
The USDA says the disease has seriously affected citrus production in India, Asia, Southeast Asia, the Arabian Peninsula and Africa.
Prohibited citrus includes the following: oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, sour oranges, sweet limes, guavas, mangoes, peaches and pomegranates.
Failure to declare prohibited agricultural items can result in fines and depending on the severity of the violation, can run as high as $1,000 and up to more than $250,000 for commercial importations.
For more information on prohibited fruits visit: http://cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/vacation/kbyg/
More detailed information on the citrus greening disease visit http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/citrus_greening/index.shtml