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Last Week Exciting one for Don’t Pack a Pest

July 8, 2014

The travelers program launches website to aid travelers, welcomes Caymans  to the partnership

The Don’t Pack a Pest travelers program took two big steps forward last week, launching a revised, mobile-device-friendly, website that tells travelers whether items they plan to travel with can harm native species, and by welcoming yet another Caribbean nation – the Cayman Islands –  into the partnership.

DPAPScreenshotThe partnership’s campaign is administered by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry. Other partners (http://www.dontpackapest.com/Partners) include the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), cruise lines, travel agents, airlines and airports and the Caribbean Plant Health Directors Forum, which includes representatives from most of the countries in the Caribbean Region.

Website: DontPackaPest.com

The website is now fully compatible with desktop and laptop computers and mobile devices. It allows travelers to quickly determine whether items they plan to travel with (or that might already be in their luggage) are allowed entry into the U.S. “Can I bring papaya from Uruguay,” for example. The answer: “This item is prohibited from entering the U.S. in passenger baggage.” Another search for truffle from France returns the answer, “Subject to Inspection.” The site then leads the traveler to a page explaining the declaration procedure and the fines and delays that can result from failing to declare.  The list of sensitive items is not limited to foodstuffs and plants. Meats, animal hunting trophies, game animal carcasses and hides and certain handicrafts, for example, are restricted as well.

Cayman Islands welcomed into partnership

On July 2, the Hon. Kurt Tibbetts, the Cayman Islands’ minister for agriculture, welcomed representatives of the partnership and other dignitaries at a ceremony at the Owen Roberts International Airport as the islands became the newest partner in the program that includes major ports of entry in the U.S., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.

The Don’t Pack a Pest program launched in 2010. It is aimed at deterring the movement of invasive plants, animals and diseases that threaten agriculture and the environment as well as human and animal health.

CaymanRollout2July14

International travelers can purposefully or unknowingly introduce invasive pests and diseases by transporting undeclared agricultural materials in luggage. The negative consequences of invasive species are far-reaching, costing the United States billions of dollars in damages every year.

Compounding the problem is that these harmful invaders spread at astonishing rates. Such infestations of invasive plants and animals can negatively affect property values, agricultural productivity, public utility operations, native fisheries, tourism, outdoor recreation, and the overall health of the world’s ecosystem.

Click here to see coverage of the event from the Cayman media’s point of view. Visit http://www.dontpackapest.com to learn what you can carry into the U.S. in your baggage.

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