CBP adds food specialists to inspect imports

Published 22 October 2008

Worries about imported food, and about animal disease and the invasion of lakes and rivers by foreign species, increase; Border Protection adds food specialists for better point-of-entry inspection

As worries about the safety of imported food — and imported food ingredients — rise, accompanied by worries about the introduction of animal disease and the invasion of U.S. lakes and rivers by foreign species, we note that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) the other day celebrated the graduation of its 50th Agriculture Specialist Basic Training Class as twenty-one new specialists completed the 10-week program in Frederick, Maryland. CBP employs more than 2,000 agriculture specialists at ports of entry throughout the United States to protect against the threat of invasive pests and foreign animal diseases. Specialists conduct inspection and prevention efforts designed to keep prohibited agricultural items from entering the country. These items, whether in commercial cargo or with a person entering the country, could cause serious damage to America’s crops, livestock and environment.

With a high level of goods, people and cargo attempting to enter the country, you will serve as experts in the areas of inspection, analysis and examination,” Thomas Winkowski, assistant commissioner of CBP’s office of field operations, told the graduates. “We rely heavily on the strength and adeptness of CBP’s agriculture specialists and officers who are the guardians of our ports of entry.”