630 live insect larvae found hidden in artificial flowers at New York airport, officials say
JAMAICA, N.Y. - Hundreds of live insect larvae concealed among a shipment of plastic flowers from Kenya was intercepted at a New York airport earlier this month.
Agriculture specialists with U.S. Customs and Border Protection said they found the pests – 630 of them – after they inspected a parcel at the John F. Kennedy International Airport International Mail Facility on May 3.
The shipment was seized for violating USDA regulations and safeguarded to prevent them from spreading.
To date, there have been almost 28,000 prohibited agriculture items seized and 4,500 other pests have been discovered in air cargo by CBPAS at JFK, the agency said.
"This latest interception highlights the vigilance and dedication to duty that our CBP Agriculture Specialists demonstrate daily," said Francis J. Russo, director of field operations in the New York Field Office. "By doing so, they ensure that the United States is safe from harmful pests entering our country that could potentially cause grave damage to our agricultural and economic vitality."
Although many are tiny and seem innocuous, Russo said these types of pests can delay global trade and destabilize the national economy and food supply.
"A single pest can cause millions of dollars in damages," he said.