Otay Mesa, California - U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists at the Otay Mesa commercial facility intercepted a destructive, non-native species of snail in a cargo shipment bound for the U.S.

“Keeping this pest out of the nation saves the American agricultural industry from the expense of eradication, and the hardship of finding their crops damaged by a new danger,” said Pete Flores, Director of Field Operations for CBP in San Diego.  “By stopping destructive species at the border, before they can enter the United States for the first time, CBP officers and agriculture specialists protect this vital American industry.”

On Thursday, April 10, a cargo truck carrying a shipment of mixed produce from Mexico arrived at the Otay Mesa port.  The commodity was targeted for examination and referred to the dock for an intensive inspection.

During the inspection process, a CBP agriculture specialist intercepted a live snail from a box of false pak choy, also known as false bok choy, a type of Chinese cabbage.

The CBP agriculture specialist sent the snail to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for identification.  The Plant Protection and Quarantine division of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service identified the snail as Calcisuccinea aff. luteola (Gould), an actionable pest of the Succineidae family.

The shipment was not allowed entry into the U.S.  The importer re-exported the shipment to Mexico.

The USDA determines which pests are classified as “actionable.” If introduced into the United States, actionable pests have the potential to have significant economic impact on American agriculture and natural resources because they are either non-existent in the U.S. or currently have very limited distribution in the country.

Agriculture specialists protect the United States from the threat of invasive pests and diseases with inspection and prevention efforts designed to keep prohibited agricultural items from entering the United States.  These items, whether in commercial cargo or with a person entering the country, could cause serious damage to America’s crops, livestock, environment, and potentially public health.