The Don’t Pack A Pest Program is a joint national effort started by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The goal of this program is to educate international travelers about the risks associated with carrying luggage or packages with certain types of food, plants or other agricultural items, that could contain invasive pests that could threaten the agriculture industry.
The Texas Department of Agriculture joined the program in 2018. With over 1,200 miles of international border with Mexico, 26 active commercial airports, 16 seaports, and 12 border-posts serving passengers and trade activities, Texas is at high risk for invasive pests coming into the state. Passenger baggage is one of the largest pathways for pest and disease introduction and Texas has over 1.6 million vacation cruise passengers a year.
Accordingly, the Texas Don’t Pack a Pest program reminds international travelers to alert port inspectors of any packed fruits, vegetables, meats, and hand crafted items when entering a Texas or U.S. port of entry. The message is simple, “Stop Invasive Pests. Declare Agricultural Items When Traveling.”
Prohibited agricultural items brought into the United States from foreign countries are restricted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) because they can harbor plant pests and foreign animal diseases that could threaten American crops, livestock, and consequently our economy.
If you are a traveler entering the United States, you are REQUIRED to DECLARE fruits, vegetables, meats, plants, seeds, soil, animals, as well as plant and animal products you might be carrying. The declaration includes all items in checked baggage, carry-on luggage, or in a vehicle.
Upon examination of plants, animal products, and associated items, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists at the ports of entry will determine if these items meet the entry requirements of the United States. You should also indicate if you have been on a farm or in close proximity of livestock, as your shoes or luggage may carry traces of soil that could bring in foreign animal diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease.
Texas currently has 29 official U.S. ports of entry. This is more than any other state. While each of these ports serve as a vital gateway for goods and travelers, they each also represent an opportunity for invasive pests or diseases to enter the Lone Star State.View Texas Ports of Entry
Whether you are a visitor to the United States or a U.S. citizen arriving in the United States, you must complete one or more entry forms.
You must complete the CBP Declaration Form 6059B. CBP Declaration Form 6059B provides us with basic information about who you are and what you are bringing into the United States, such as agricultural and wildlife products, and whether or not you have visited a farm prior to traveling to the United States. If you are traveling with other immediate family members, then you only need to complete one form for your entire family.
Here is a sample of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Declaration Form 6059B.
For more information visit the CBP Traveler Entry Forms page.
The Old World Bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera) is known to attack more than 180 plant species and can cause damage to crops such as corn, cotton, small grains, soybeans, peppers, tomatoes, and beans. Damage occurs when the larvae feed on the leaves of host plants and bore into the flowers and fruit and feed within the plant. The threat is from moving, mailing or bringing infested fruits, vegetables, or plants into the United States in passenger baggage and moths or larvae hitchhiking in international cargo.More about the Old World Bollworm