More Locations to Get Risk-Based Sampling of Imported Plants for Planting
The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has announced that risk-based sampling of shipments of imported plants for planting is being expanded to the plant inspection stations in the following locations according to the following schedule.
Aug. 4 – Seattle, Wash., Los Angeles (El Segundo), Calif.; Atlanta, Ga.; Jamaica, N.Y.; and Miami, Fla. (air cargo)
Sept. 2 – Los Indios, Texas; Miami, Fla. (maritime cargo); and San Francisco, Calif. (air cargo)
In risk-based sampling, APHIS determines the probability of finding a pest within a certain number of independent samples from a shipment and uses that information to calculate the number of sample units (such as bags, boxes or crates) it should select for inspection from each shipment. All plants for planting will be sampled at a rate that will provide sufficient data to evaluate the level of risk, and the categorization of risk will be revised regularly in response to data from all inspections. APHIS believes this inspection protocol allows it to focus its efforts on the highest risk plants entering the U.S. and help expedite the inspection of low-risk plants.
However, APHIS notes that risk-based sampling requires more time to inspect some shipments and that more samples may be inspected at the discretion of the APHIS inspector. To expedite the process, importers should ensure that an adequate number of staff is available to unload sample units for inspection, as APHIS inspectors do not provide loading or unloading services. In addition, when quarantine action pests are detected on a commingled shipment, the entire shipment is subject to action required.
APHIS had originally rolled out risk-based sampling nationwide in 2012 but suspended it when significant delays in shipment clearance occurred. Since October 2013 APHIS has been expanding this program on an incremental basis to minimize import delays.