The holiday season is here! No matter your background or which holidays you celebrate, this season’s festivities involve family, friends, and traditions. Whether your home is in the U.S. or abroad, what matters most is being with the ones you love and sharing special activities. Food is central to many celebrations. Without that special dish, your holiday table is not complete. For some, it’s a holiday roast, a certain cheese, fresh seafood, or eggs prepared in many ways. For others, it’s juicy citrus fruit, buckwheat noodles, rice, coconut, or special spices. If it makes your holiday special, it needs to be there.
One of the main roles of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is to ensure that safe and fair agricultural trade occurs – so you have the foods you want from around the globe – and at the same time we protect our nation’s agriculture from pests and diseases.
Part of APHIS’ job is making sure that food items don’t carry pests or diseases to new areas. APHIS certifies that the millions of U.S. agricultural and food products shipped to markets abroad meet their destination country's entry requirements. APHIS also makes sure that all imported agricultural products coming into the United States meet our entry requirements, keeping out pests and diseases that can harm our farms.
But that’s not all. APHIS also keeps export markets open for American agricultural products by working to address and eliminate concerns about plant and animal health raised by our trading partners. APHIS' team of technical experts, based in the United States and abroad, includes veterinarians, pathologists, entomologists, and other scientists who advocate on behalf of U.S. agriculture. They build relationships with their counterparts in other countries and use scientific principles to make the case for American agricultural exports, explaining to foreign officials why U.S. commodities are safe to import.
So, whether your favorite holiday treat is grown in the U.S. or abroad, APHIS is here to make sure it’s available for you and your family to enjoy. And of course, they do this work year-round, because food is always a great way to celebrate and connect with friends, family, and heritage.
From all of us at APHIS to all of you, happy holidays!