Under 39 U.S.C. 3014(b), any plant, plant product, or other article capable of carrying a dangerous plant disease or insect infestation is nonmailable from a quarantined area, if shipping such an item is prohibited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Plant Protection Act issued under 7 U.S.C. 7701. The USDA imposes such quarantines on specific plants to prevent the introduction of agricultural diseases or pests into the United States and to prevent their spread from one part of the United States to another.
USDA quarantine notices, issued under 7 U.S.C. 7701, are published in the Federal Register and codified in 7 CFR (e.g., 7 CFR 301 and 318). Details on these and other USDA regulations may be obtained by writing to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) Programs (see 564 for address).
There are domestic quarantines that apply to the continental United States; other quarantines that apply to Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands; and others that apply to other territories and possessions.
Any plant or plant matter prohibited under the Act of August 20, 1912 (37 Stat. 315, Chapter 308; 7 U.S.C. 151 et seq.), commonly known as the Plant Protection Act, is made nonmailable by 39 U.S.C. 3015©.
Plant quarantines cover a great variety of plant diseases and pests, and all areas of the country. For more specific information, consult Publication 14, Prohibitions and Restrictions on Mailing Animals, Plants, and Related Matter.
Plants under quarantine by the USDA may be moved from the quarantine area only after being inspected under conditions prescribed in the quarantine notice or in other USDA regulations, issued under 7 U.S.C. 7701, and after a permit or certificate is issued. Refer to ASM 274.9 regarding USDA inspection of mail.
Criminal penalties of fine and imprisonment are provided for mailing nonmailable items as follows:
- Under 18 U.S.C. 1716B, for anyone who knowingly mails, or causes to be delivered by mail, anything nonmailable pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 3014(b) and the regulations implementing 39 U.S.C. 3014(c).
- Under 18 U.S.C. 1716D, for anyone who knowingly mails, or causes to be delivered by mail, anything nonmailable pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 3015(c).
Similar criminal penalties of fine and imprisonment are provided by 18 U.S.C. 1716C as follows:
- For anyone who forges or counterfeits any certification authorized by USDA regulations with intent to make such certification appear genuine.
- For anyone who makes or knowingly uses, sells, or possesses with intent to use or sell, any such forged or counterfeited certification or any device for imprinting a forged or counterfeited certification.