PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Officials took action earlier this month after crop-destructing beetles were found in a bag of rice originating in the Middle East.
Customs and Border Protection agents at Pittsburgh International Airport discovered the Khapra Beetles and larvae in a 10-pound bag of rice that came from Saudi Arabia, by way of France.
Officials say the beetle is highly destructive to grains, cereals and stored foods.
“Khapra Beetle is one of the most invasive insects CBP agriculture specialists encounter,” Joseph Klaus, CBP Port Director for the Port of Pittsburgh, said in a statement. “And we take our mission to intercept these destructive pests and protecting America’s agricultural industry very seriously.”
The Khapra Beetle not only destroys crops, but can contaminate them, causing sickness in adults and especially infants.
The USDA says prior efforts to eradicate Khapra Beetles took extensive efforts and roughly $90 million in taxpayer money.
The rice was destroyed by incineration.