Jamaica joins 'Don't Pack a Pest' program

11/26/2012 12:17:00 PM
Vicky Boyd

Customs and Border Patrol detector dogCourtesy Customers and Border PatrolBeagles are used in major airports to help sniff out agricultural contraband in luggage.The effort to prevent pests from hitchhiking into Florida has taken on an international flavor as Jamaica signed on to participate in the "Don't Pack a Pest" campaign.

The effort by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security tries to educate travelers about the perils of bringing contraband agricultural items, according to a news release.

Many of the items can harbor agricultural pests not found in the United States.

Signs at Miami and Orlando airports and the Port of Miami feature Linus, a USDA detector dog that helps sniff out illegal ag items.

Now the signs also will be posted in Jamaica. The Don't Pack a Pest website provides travel guidelines about what products can and can't be brought into Jamaica and the United States.

Countries that are members of the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's Greater Caribbean Safeguarding Initiative work together to try to prevent high-risk plant pests and diseases.

Members of the Don't Pack a Pest program include the Caribbean islands, Venezuela, Suriname, Guyana, French Guiana, Central America, Panama and the United States.

U.S. members include Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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