It’s the part of the entry process that tourists hate the most about visiting Los Cabos for a beach vacation.
Despite the complaints of tourists, the unpopular yet very important phytosanitary inspection will continue.
What is the Inspection?
At the Los Cabos International Airport, the phytosanitary prevention measures affect tourists in a number of different ways.
The first way, which many tourists do not realize, is the placement of sanitary mats with disinfectants at the exit of the plane and the entry to the Los Cabos International Airport terminal.
These disinfecting mats are specially designed to kill phytosanitary bacteria on shoes, which may have been transmitted by tourists visiting farms and animals before arriving in Los Cabos.
The more intrusive one for tourists, which is actually adding to a number of delays for travelers upon arrival to the Los Cabos International Airport, is the inspections conducted by dogs and inspectors.
They are searching for food items, such as fruits, vegetables, and meat products, such as jerky, which may have phytosanitary bacteria targets on them.
If a traveler is found carrying these items, they generally have two options. The first is to have the items sprinkled with a disinfectant. The second is to surrender the items for destruction.
Most tourists are unsure what to do with when faced with an official inspector finding the items in their luggage, which adds to the delays for those waiting in long immigration and customs lines at the airport.
What Are They Searching For?
Inspectors in Mexico are looking for the same thing United States Customs is searching for when entering the United States. They want to keep agricultural pests from entering their country.
Everything from African Swine Flu to Avian Flu and even Hoof and Mouth Disease and Fruit flies are potential threats to farm animals and the agricultural industry in Mexico.
People visiting farms or ranches can transmit these diseases from country to country by simply walking in affected areas and having soil on their shoes or by carrying food items with potential pests.
That’s why upon returning to the United States, travelers are required to answer questions about visiting a farm.
Why Are There Delays?
The delays at the Los Cabos International Airport are coming when travelers have to step into inspection areas to have their luggage hand-checked for potential food and meat products.
The time needed to inspect luggage takes time, similar to a TSA baggage check for potentially disallowed items in a security screen.
It also requires the tourist to decide how to handle fruit, meat, and other food items found in luggage.
Unfortunately, many tourists are challenging the officers conducting the inspection before deciding on allowing the disinfectants or destruction of the food item, adding to the delays.
How Tourists Can Help
The first thing tourists can do to help is to educate themselves about the Mexican phytosanitary process and how it works not only to protect tourists but also the agricultural industry in Mexico.
The best way to speed up the inspection process is to discard these food items while in a flight or simply not to bring them to Los Cabos at all.
If a food item is found in luggage, simply admit the error and decide how to handle the unallowed item. Again, tourists have two choices. They can have the item sprinkled with a disinfectant or destroyed.
Having an idea about the process in advance and knowing how to handle the decision process for unallowed items coming into Los Cabos during a phytosanitary inspection can actually help visitors enjoy the start of their vacation much sooner.
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