Port Everglades today celebrated the grand opening of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) new pest identification laboratory, a state-of-the-art facility that will help speed delivery of perishable cargoes.
Imported containerized cargo is regularly inspected for potentially dangerous insects. If a specimen is found, it needs to be identified quickly, so that cargo can be released if the insect is harmless, or if the insect poses a potential invasive threat, appropriate action may be taken.
"Today, we ensure greater efficiencies in the system, as the USDA and Port Everglades continue to work together to promote international trade in Florida, by having this new laboratory with upgraded equipment and USDA staff onsite here to process the perishable products of importers. We are both committed to serving the needs of the maritime industry," said Port Everglades Director Phil Allen. "By increasing the efficiencies of processing perishable products, such as fruits and vegetables, we are reducing the time in getting the product out to the market and the food to the tables of the population in South Florida. The new USDA lab follows on the heels of last year's tarpless fumigation service at Port Everglades-based International Warehouse Services.Â The Port's capabilities continue to expand, benefiting both shippers and shoppers."
The tarpless fumigation system was installed towards the end of last year at Port Everglades to fumigate containers for microscopic-sized non-indigenous pests in a faster method that doesn't change the temperature of the container so that the fruits and vegetables stay fresher and have a longer shelf life.
The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's (APHIS') state-of-the-art, $200,000 pest identification lab opened today on the 4th floor at 1800 Eller Drive in Port Everglades.
"At 900 square feet, this compact lab is nearly six times larger than the previous lab, and it consolidates Plant Protection and Quarantine's (PPQ's) pest identification equipment and expansive insect collection in one location," said Will James, Area Director, USDA.
Among the upgrades to the new lab are:
• a high-end fume hood to ensure employee safety while working with pest identification chemicals
• digital imaging equipment for enhanced pest identification
• running water and a deep freezer for pest storage
• a separate insect specimen room
• multiple computer network connections for visiting scientists and researchers.