VIDEO: Florida Agriculture Department Warns ‘Don’t Pack A Pest’ During Travels
By Florida Dept. of Agriculture // May 28, 2015
safeguard Florida’s agriculture industry
ABOVE VIDEO: Federal and state customs patrols often use beagles to detect and flag invasive pests at ports. Video courtesy of Florida Department of Agriculture and dontpackapest.com
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – Travelers and residents alike are reminded “Don’t Pack a Pest” and to declare their agricultural goods when traveling to Florida this summer.
On average, at least one pest or disease is introduced into Florida every month, including pests that are new to Florida, new to the continent or new to the hemisphere.
The “Don’t Pack a Pest” public awareness campaign helps safeguard Florida’s $120 billion agriculture industry from invasive, destructive pests and disease brought by unsuspecting travelers.
“Invasive pests, some of which enter the state through Florida’s international airports, have the potential to devastate Florida’s $120 billion agriculture industry,” said Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam.
“Keeping these pests outside our borders is the most effective way to protect our state from threats, so remember, ‘Don’t Pack a Pest’ when traveling this summer.”
“Don’t Pack a Pest” was launched in 2011 to raise awareness of the importance of declaring agricultural products brought into the United States by travelers.
Products that should be declared include fresh fruits, vegetables, cut flowers, plant material, animal products and firewood, among others.
Billboard and video advertisements featuring the message can be seen in 20 of the busiest airports in the U.S. where 85 percent of international travelers are processed through customs.
Travelers can visit to see what food, plants and animals could harm Florida’s agriculture industry and the more than 2 million jobs it supports.
Because of its climate, geography and crop diversity, combined with the multiple international air and marine ports throughout the state, Florida faces a high risk for the introduction of pests and diseases.
The “Don’t Pack a Pest” campaign is a collaborative campaign developed by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection.
The campaign features Linus, an agriculture detector dog, whose responsibility is to detect the presence of agricultural products in luggage and with travelers.
For more information about the “Don’t Pack a Pest” campaign, please visit DontPackaPest.com. For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit FreshFromFlorida.com.