Many major plant pests and diseases have been introduced to the USA by travelers unknowingly bringing in infected plant material or personal items. The purpose of this journal post is to educate persons traveling to coffee growing regions and visiting coffee farms outside the USA mainland on common agricultural sanitation practices and protocols to prevent the introduction of a destructive pest/pathogen to the young California coffee industry.

Nematodes live in soil and can be transmitted from farm to farm via soil on soles of shoes. Spores of fungal pathogens can survive the plane trip home on your clothing. Insects like the coffee berry borer reside in coffee seeds. Please follow the protocols below to make sure you are pest/pathogen free upon returning home.

After visiting a foreign coffee farm and before returning to the USA:

  • Wash shoes with soap and water using a brush, paying special attention to clean all dirt from the soles.
  • Separate and quarantine the clothing you wore on the coffee farm by placing all items in sealable plastic bags.
  • Do not bring back living plant material that has not been fumigated, including bean in parchment, green coffee bean or unroasted coffee beans.

When you have returned home:

  • Sanitize soles of shoes with a 1:10 ratio bleach and water solution.
  • Remove clothing from sealable bags and wash separately in hot water and detergent.

Thank you for being a safe traveler!

Written by Frinj Team Members:

Kaytlin O’Dell, Field Consultant

Dr. Juan Medrano, CTO, Founder, and Plant Geneticist