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Bowwoww Powwoww at MIA: Blastoff of the travelers ‘Don’t Pack a Pest’ outreach campaign

July 6, 2011

Are there any news hounds out there looking for some high-flying, tail-wagging good stories to tell?

Participate in the launch of a new program to raise awareness about invasive pests and diseases that may be hitchhiking their way into our food supply.

The ‘Don’t Pack a Pest’ campaign is being launched this Friday at Miami International Airport by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection and Miami-Dade County.

Invasive critters from other countries, and various parts of our own, sneak through unsuspecting travelers. To prevent the destruction of forests and crops across Florida, FDACS has partnered with several agencies to educate travelers about safe practices during travel, specifically when returning home.

CBP detector dogs are used at international ports across America to sniff out smuggled goods. They serve as an accurate means of locating agricultural products in a pleasant manner, furry and friendly. Invasive pests and diseases may be harbored within a wide range of raw food products, soil and plant material and even processed meats like sausage.

Whether traveling via plane, car or boat, pesky little pests seem to find a way into our suitcases. Fortunately, these K-9 rescuers can sniff out the evidence, keeping the pests from exiting our suitcases and entering our environment.

Here is an important message from Linus, our regal beagle protecting the agriculture industry:  

Greetings fellow not-so-furry friends,

Do you enjoy eating fresh fruits and vegetables? How about watching trees sway in the breeze? If you want to continue enjoying these Florida luxuries, you have to play your part in safe-keeping our environment. The steps are as easy as 1-2-3!

  1. Don’t pack pests when you travel. Whether in planes, trains or automobiles, declare agricultural products when re-entering the states. If you see and/or hear of any invasive pests, report them.
  2. Don’t move firewood. Purchase local firewood at the location of the fire and be sure to burn it all. Taking firewood home could result in the transportation of invasive pests and diseases. 
  3. Purchase only certified plants from registered nurseries.

If you are a member of the media, come out to support the blastoff of my fellow detector dogs this Friday in Miami. You’ll learn a lot about traveling safely, protecting our food supply and the environment.

Don’t be a pest packer, be a pest preventer! Don’t pack a pest.

Don’t forget to visit the event site at http://freshfromflorida.com/pi/travelers/index.html.

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