Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Crop-threatening weevil discovered at LAX in basil shipment from Mexico

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Los Angeles International Airport intercepted a tiny insect that could pose a risk to agriculture, officials said Thursday.

The pest, pseudapion seminidum wagner, a member of the weevil family, was discovered in a shipment of organic basil from Mexico.

"LAX has never had this kind of bug before," said Naveeda Mirza, program manager for agriculture with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection field office.

Customs officials sent the insect to an entomologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Infamous in Florida as a stored grain pest, the pear-shaped weevil can also feed on plant stems and leaves, causing abnormal plant growth, Mirza said.

The importer, who had the option to have the basil treated, destroyed or sent back to Mexico, chose to have the crop fumigated and sent on its way.

-- Amina Khan
Comments () | Archives (8)

I bet it still gets packaged and sold as organic.

IMAGE THE PROFITS, for the OFFENDERS, IF CA/US crops are decimated!!!!

Typical. They have no respect for anything except their own criminals and crimes. 20 years of living there proves this.

Close the border already!!!! The only good thing that ever came out of Mexico was Acapulco Gold and they don't grow that special crop anymore.

They won't still sell it as 'organic' will they?

Hopefully it didn't end up still being marked ORGANIC.

The question, unanswered in this post, is whether the fumigation is enough to kill off all the pest and its eggs. Secondarily, that the basil was organic was mentioned however, there is nothing that says whether spraying/fumigating would have stopped it from appearing in the shipment.

BTW, for those asking, once sprayed, it cannot be labeled organic. Otherwise it is a violation of the USDA Organic rules.

Give the weevil a break, he was just looking for a better life in America!!!!


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: