CBP reminding travelers of prohibited items that can cause severe fruit loss if imported

El Paso News

El Paso, Texas (KTSM) – U.S. Customs and Border Protection wants to remind all travelers that importing peppers and tomatoes continues to be prohibited.

CBP and CBP Agriculture Specialists working at El Paso area ports of entry have made 10 agriculture seizures this past week. Violators were fined $2,775 and their items were seized.

“The prohibition on the importation of peppers and tomatoes has been in place since late 2019 yet travelers continue importing these goods,” said CBP El Paso Director of Field Operations Hector A. Mancha. “We are again reminding the public that they will face penalties if prohibited agricultural goods are discovered during the inspection process.”

CBP continues its inspections of imported tomato and pepper fruit, seed lots and transplants entering at all U.S. ports to prevent the introduction of Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus and protect the multi-billion dollar U.S. tomato and pepper production industry.

Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus can cause severe fruit loss in tomatoes and peppers. It is easily spread through the use of contaminated tools, hands, and plant-to-plant contact.

Travelers are reminded to declare all items they are importing.

If CBP determines that a declared item is prohibited it can generally be abandoned without consequence. If the items are undeclared and then located during an inspection penalties can be assessed.

“Homeland security is the primary mission however the inspections CBP officers perform identify a wide variety of violations every day including agricultural products,”  said Mancha.

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