Nuffer, Smith, Tucker | Food & Agriculture | Jun 12, 2013
How International Travel Threatens Our Local Landscape
The Customs and Border Protection K-9 unit relies on dogs like Rocket to help them find restricted materials packed in luggage. These pups can sniff out citrus fruit and curry leaves, which both can carry the deadly HLB disease, and are rewarded with treats when contraband is detected.
When we travel, we’re often thinking about our destination. What we’re not often thinking about is how our travel may be impacting the locations in which we live and the destinations to which we venture. Bringing fruit, vegetables, plants or herbs home as souvenirs may sound like a good idea, but this act is actually very dangerous to our local landscape. Invasive pests and diseases spread around the globe often by human travel.
All this plant material – oranges, kaffir limes, pomellos, dried lemons and curry leaves – were seized in one week by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Each piece of fruit poses a serious threat to California agriculture because of the insects and diseases that could be afflicting this foreign good.
One such invasive disease that is threatening California is a citrus disease called Huanglongbing
, also known as HLB or citrus greening disease. HLB has no cure and infected trees die. Nuffer, Smith, Tucker works with the Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program
to raise awareness of this deadly disease. To protect our state’s iconic citrus trees, we need the support of state and federal agriculture officials, commercial citrus growers, California residents and those traveling to and from California.
Hmmm this fruit doesn’t look quite right. That’s because it’s infected with a serious plant disease. For more photos to help you identify symptoms of HLB, visit www.CaliforniaCitrusThreat.org.
As part of our outreach, NST, with the help of WORLDCOM
partner IW Group
and U.S. Customs and Border Protection
, organized a media event at Los Angeles International Airport to inform locals and travelers of the dangers of bringing citrus fruit or plant material in and out of the area when traveling. Here are some photos from the day’s events.
The LAX event drew 15 news outlets, ultimately delivering key information to English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Filipino audiences. HLB is found all over the world, so many cultures and ethnicities need to be educated about the role they play in protecting California citrus.