Why is the FDA holding up delivery of an Apple computer?
The Food and Drug Administration is holding up the delivery of MG Siegler's iMac because they apparently think it is an apple, not an Apple.
In the comments of the tracking report are these notes:
UPS (who is the transportation company, and apparently handling customs clearance) has obtained documentation and submitted to Food and Drug Administration and/or department of AG/PPQ ( which stands for agricultural plant, protection and quarantine).
There were several comments by readers of Boing Boing, wondering if U.S. agriculture/customs thought an Apple computer was in fact an apple, as in fruit.
I thought I should set the record straight. Although U.S. Customs (or now called Department of Homeland Security) does sometimes make mistakes, this was not an error.
The reason for the documentation required by PPQ (who's job it is to protect plant species in the U.S.) is because there was this nasty bug, the Asian Longhorned Beetle, which found it's way into the U.S. in packaging material from Asia. It killed a lot of trees, mainly in the Northeastern U.S.
Asian Longhorned Beetle
After the discovery in 1996 of Asian longhorned beetles (ALB, Anoplophora glabripennis) on several hardwood trees in Brooklyn, New York, the Secretary of Agriculture declared an extraordinary emergency in order to combat the infestation with regulatory and control actions. Asian Longhorned Beetles are believed to have been introduced into the United States from wood pallets and other wood packing material accompanying cargo shipments from Asia.
This is the documentation requirement. They don't inspect the shipment. They are trusting that people are not lying.
Every shipment which has solid wood packing material must be accompanied by certification from the Chinese government stating that the wood has been heat treated, fumigated, or treated with preservatives. ....
Shipments which do not have solid wood packing material must be accompanied by an exporter statement saying that the shipment contains no solid wood packing material.
I guess it's doing some good
In April 2008, both the Jersey City and Chicago infestations were declared eradicated. Currently, USDA-APHIS' Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) is implementing quarantine and control strategies in New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts that seek to eradicate this serious pest from the United States.