WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Effective July 30, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is restricting the importation of rice from countries known to have Khapra beetle, due to an increasing number of detections at U.S. ports of entry of infested shipments of rice from these countries.

The introduction and establishment of Khapra beetle (Trogoderma granarium) into the U.S. poses a serious threat to stored agricultural products, including spices, grains and packaged foods, according to an APHIS press release announcing this regulatory action.

Commercial imports of rice from countries where the Khapra beetle is known to occur will have to be inspected and accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate with an additional declaration stating that the shipment has been inspected and found free of Khapra beetle. Noncommercial quantities of rice such as samples, and rice brought into the U.S. for personal use will be prohibited entry.

The APHIS restrictions apply to all countries where Khapra beetle is known to occur, including Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cyprus, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and United Arab Emirates.

The U.S. imported on average 127,000 tonnes of rice from these countries annually in 2006-2010. Imports from India and Pakistan account for just over 80% of this amount.