Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Parasite Scare Quarantines Houston Ship Channel

Two docks and part of a third at the Houston Ship Channel were quarantined today because some lumber was wrapped in rice straw. That straw is known to carry a parasite that's dangerous to plants. U-S Department of Agriculture inspectors became concerned about a lumber shipment aboard a Chinese vessel. Judy Turner with Customs and Border Protection in Houston says rice straw isn't allowed into the U-S without a permit and proof that it has been treated. Turner says the rice straw found today hadn't been certified as treated. She says officials don't believe it was an intentional shipment or an intentional threat or danger. While the parasite that can be found in the rice straw is harmful to plants, it poses no danger to humans. The areas were shut down while the wrapping material was removed and the lumber was cleaned.
Docks 27, 28 and a portion of 24 were quarantined.

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